Deutsche Bank has announced that it is to become a partner of the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The announcement, made last week at the WEF’s annual conference and skiing trip in Davos, Switzerland, sees the bank join other large firms including Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente and Huawei in the project which aims to lead the way on governance rule for Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies. Kim Hammonds, Deutsche Bank’s Group COO is enthusiastic about the opportunities offered by the partnership: “Emerging technologies are already transforming our industry and banks are on a journey to becoming platform companies. Being involved in the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution will position us to drive and influence the rules and standards that govern this exciting space”.

The partnership with Deutsche is only a part of an international expansion of the Centre. The WEF, which gathers global business chiefs and politicians, announced new partnerships with governments in Asia and Europe, and the establishment of affiliate centres in India, Japan and the UAE. Established in March 2017 in San Francisco, the Centre has grown impressively quickly boasting nearly 40 partnerships with global companies, as well as a membership studded with significant start-ups and small businesses from emerging technology fields.

The Centre aims to make sure that the rules and governance keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies and abilities. “We want to ensure that a technologically enriched future is safe, ethical, inclusive and sustainable for all, not just a few,” said Murat Sonmez, Head of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is an accelerator for impact and having a global network of Centres will enable us to move faster than ever.”

To work towards this, the Centre is establishing a series of specialist councils, bringing together experts in particular areas. Councils set up so far cover areas including blockchain, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. Councils are tasked with working alongside governments and academics to address ethical and legal issues that arise as these cutting edge technologies arise. To boost academic participation the WEF is also funding postgraduate fellowships, to bring the latest research into the councils’ discussions.

Deutsche Bank certainly see an advantage in taking part in the centre’s work, hoping that it will allow them to stay at the cutting edge of Fintech and other technologies that are changing the face of banking. “Digital innovation is central to the bank’s growth and our service to clients,” Hammonds said. As the 4IR rolls on, seeming at a faster pace every day, more companies and governments will need to face up to the changing requirements for governance.

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