The world is in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution – a period during which technological breakthroughs and industrial disruptive technologies are blurring geographical borders and challenging existing regulatory frameworks. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and autonomous transportation are rapidly changing our lives but also creating new risks and opportunities and raising ethical issues. Government regulation, that is required to provide a solution to these challenges, is generally struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of change.

In order to help government regulation to adapt to the rapidly changing technology, the World Economic Forum founded a network of Centers for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This network aims to create and share knowledge, experience and best practices related to innovative technologies’ regulation, via collaborations between governments, leading corporations, private sector and experts from around the world.

The C4IR network began operation in San Francisco in 2017 and operates centers in China, Japan and India. Alongside the official centers, there are other countries that joined as ‘Affiliate Centers’ including South Africa, Colombia, Brazil, the UAE, Norway and Saudi Arabia.

In January 2019, as part of Government Resolution No. 4481, it was decided that the State of Israel would join the C4IR network and the Israeli Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution was therefore established in January 2019 as an Affiliate Center in the C4IR network.

Participation in the network will enable to advance the readiness of the Israeli market to new technologies, specifically innovative disruptive technologies that will significantly influence life in Israel. The Israeli center will work with local regulators to assist them in adopting flexible and innovative regulations that are suitable for technological developments and that allow for the promotion of innovation, research and improved services while preserving public interests (such as safety and privacy).

The Innovation Authority believes that creating a flexible, innovative regulation environment that is adapted to technological developments provides a significant opportunity to advance an innovation ecosystem for growing technologies. This environment is necessary for the Israeli high-tech industry to be able to maintain its leading technological position in these fields but also to enable the State of Israel to provide its citizens with the tremendous benefit promised by technological progress.

The Israeli Center is in its initial stages of examining the main fields expected to influence the future of the State of Israel. The Center is currently establishing collaborations with the Ministries of Transport, Health and Justice, and its coordinating team is developing cooperation in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, information economics, and the regulation of autonomous tools.