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World Economic Forum selects UK as AI procurement testbed

Written by Peter Walker
04/07/19

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has selected the UK and Bahrain as the testbed countries for new public sector artificial intelligence (AI) procurement guidelines.

The WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution made the announcement at a meeting in Dalian, China.

A statement explained that AI has huge potential to streamline and transform service delivery for governments, but due to lack of understanding and concerns over complexity, public institutions are often wary of adopting the technology and lack the knowledge needed to successfully implement it.

This spurred the WEF to announce in 2017 that it would bring governments, businesses, startups and civil society together to co-design guidelines. It partnered with the UK government to help design the guidelines and assess them in real-world conditions. Bahrain will now join the UK in piloting the framework and providing feedback.

In 2017, Bahrain launched the region’s first regulatory sandbox, allowing FinTechs using AI technology to test and scale new products and services, and in 2018 the country’s authorities launched FinTech Bay, one of the largest such hubs in the Middle East.