The World Economic Forum (WEF) and government have set into motion plans to launch a centre in SA to help create regulatory framework for technological advancements.

The government will launch the Affiliate Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in September to develop appropriate policies, principles and protocols to help govern the technological changes stemming from growing artificial intelligence and automation. The centre will be the first in Africa.

“SA is joining a global network that has already been established. The goal is to work with government, policy makers, business, civil society and academics to prepare forward looking policies,” head of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Global Network Murat Sönmez told Business Day on Tuesday.

SA will become part of a network alongside centres in San Francisco, Beijing, Tokyo and Mumbai as well as other affiliates in the UAE and Colombia and will bring parties together on a sustained basis.

The network looks at developing data policies that are effective at promoting innovation and also protecting the public as well as ensuring artificial intelligence is ethical, for example.

“You can look at it as an accelerator for impact. Joining a global network will accelerate benefits to SA. There’s a development of policies on a global level and that exposes SA to a broader audience. SA can benefit from the rest of the globe,” Sönmez said.

The network ties into the WEF, which has taken a forward-looking lens on issues such as energy, mobility and healthcare in the age of the fourth industrial revolution, he said.

“This provides a platform to create the complementary regulatory framework,” he said.