The WEF itself is playing a leading role in guiding the debate among diverse stakeholder groups, and its recent report highlights three priority areas: multilateral action to address systemic risks through global principles and standards; industry efforts to overcome gaps in existing operational cyber security approaches; and, a push by business leaders on strategic planning to address emerging risks to their critical infrastructures.
Each of these themes is essential, and increasingly urgent. For example, there’s much to be done to establish core guidelines for the foundations of our future world in areas such as connected infrastructure and digital identity management. Since every nation is struggling with these issues, we need to work together to create solutions which scale beyond individual countries.
Similarly, there remains a sizable body of work to develop the capabilities to successfully secure AI. This requires technical skill sets very different to classic cyber security skills: a whole new discipline which is a hybrid of data science, security, privacy and ethics expertise.
And of course, we must build the regulatory capabilities and frameworks best suited to Industry 4.0 and a new industrial revolution, exploring which market interventions will drive the right behavior. Should we focus on mandatory regulation of suppliers, on voluntary product certification regimes, on consumer protection measures, a legal structure which assigns liability or an indirect mechanism such as compulsory insurance. Fortunately, cross-border regulatory cooperation is increasing, with a growing base of academic research to support effective policymaking.
Industry action is also critical to build a solid foundation of digital trust among customers and other users of these technologies. New technologies bring fears and concerns, only too well illustrated through the unfounded concerns over the links between COVID-19 and 5G. The public have every right to expect a growing level of protection, reliability, transparency and oversight as these technologies exert an ever-greater influence on our daily lives.