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World Economic Forum to establish a new center in San Francisco

World Economic Forum to establish a new center in San FranciscoThe World Economic Forum (WEC) will open a new center in San Francisco called the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is aimed to connect tech companies and policymakers in the heart of the world’s technology industry.

Building off the Forum’s thesis of a “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the new facility will focus on bringing government officials and tech companies together to create frameworks for more productive legislative policies that can be implemented worldwide.

“Depending on the collective choices we make - as consumers, as communities, as business, government, and civil society leaders – these technological breakthroughs could give us the power to move into a world that is even more prosperous, while being more sustainable and more inclusive," World Economic Forum founder and chairman Klaus Schwab said.

“There’s a policy question about how do you maximize the benefit to humans and minimize the downside” of most innovations coming from technology companies, according to Murat Sönmez, who will lead WEF’s efforts in San Francisco.

“Already the forum works at a global level with policy makers, governments, and international organizations. They’re all intrigued by and interested in these technology developments… We’re bringing the rest of the world to Silicon Valley,” Sönmez said.

The WEF’s “Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” will be home to around 60 employees working on 10 distinct policy areas, ranging from drones and autonomous vehicles to artificial intelligence and robotics to precision medicine.

From their new offices in the Presidio, the working groups will develop recommendations and policy frameworks that can be adopted globally. It’s akin to work the WEF has already undertaken in Boston with autonomous vehicles, in a program that Sönmez says other cities around the world are clamoring to replicate.

And, Sönmez says, the relationship between government and industry is just as important for the industrial players as it is for the politicians. “As [tech companies] get into the deployment phase, currently the policy frameworks in place can get in the way,” according to Sönmez.
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