As digital and emerging technologies impact society, civil society organizations (including humanitarian organizations, development organizations, advocacy groups and labour unions) will continue to play significant roles in solving global challenges, championing human rights and fostering needed dialogue on societal issues. However, cross-discipline knowledge sharing and learning across these organizations will be critical in developing responsible digital strategies and processes, protecting vulnerable populations from Fourth Industrial Revolution harms and the transformation of the social sector.
Investing in civil society—its preparedness, digital infrastructure and inclusion in the governance of emerging technologies—is investing in the future of accountability, transparency, fairness and trust in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for everyone. Philanthropy, industry, academia and other stakeholders have critical roles to play in working with the sector towards ensuring a fairer, human-centred Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In addition to mainstreaming civil society engagement across its Centres, the Forum is committed to building a platform to accelerate impact, practice and responsibility of civil society and social sector organizations responding to digital and emerging technologies. The Preparing Civil Society for the Fourth Industrial Revolution project functions in four ways:
- As a network: Supporting much needed translation and knowledge sharing among ongoing networks at the intersection of civil society, human rights and technology— developing specific outputs through the co-launch of global working groups with partner organizations, under the leadership of the Forum and its external advisory board
- As a mobilizer: Holding space for coordination on regional and global policy and practice related to protecting vulnerable populations (including children, workers, displaced persons and others from Fourth Industrial Revolution harms)
- As a knowledge base: Creating shared resources and new knowledge tailored for civil society within a multi-stakeholder platform with partner organizations and experts—through the creation of knowledge products and reports on topics such as responsible digital transformation, ethical design in tech for good projects, and others.
- As an accelerator: Launching new initiatives to address critical gaps and existing internal organizational barriers within multi-stakeholder partnerships committed to “keeping people and planet first” in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
For more information and to get involved, please contact David Sangokoya, Project Manager and Knowledge Lead, Society and Innovation, at CivilSociety4IR@weforum.org.