The challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be front and center as members of the 21-member nations belonging to the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) converge upon Da Nang, Vietnam for the 2017 APEC CEO Summit.

Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, believes this about the Fourth Industrial Revolution: “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution builds upon the digital age with new and highly anticipated waves of innovation that connect the physical, digital and biological to create technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, robotics, materials science, energy storage, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

These technologies offer benefits such as using autonomous cars to help people with disabilities access services. Artificial intelligence will lead to smarter cities through increased energy savings, better traffic flow and improved public alerts to advise citizens in the event of an emergency.

To benefit from the digital age, APEC member nations must individually and collectively shift cooperation and coordination across government agencies and with the private sector to define solutions. This will enable industry stakeholders to overcome challenges such as addressing the safety of products and systems being deployed as a result of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As more devices and systems connect through the Internet, there is an increased risk of cybercriminals discovering system vulnerabilities through phishing, worms, bots, ransomware and malware techniques.

“UL believes that public-private partnerships are key to addressing issues on a local and global level,” noted Williams. “For example, our 2900 series of Standards to address cybersecurity is a framework developed through the collaboration of industry and government institutions. This joint effort is a model for navigating through the complexities of our digital age.”

At this year’s summit, UL CEO Keith Williams will join a panel titled The Digital Age to discuss the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the opportunities and challenges, and the role of government.

Williams will be joined on the panel by Jay Collins, Global Vice Chairman, Corporate and Investment Banking, Citi; and Huang Dinglong, CEO of Malong.

Achieving new levels of regional prosperity requires collaboration among many entities, and APEC 2017 aims to serve as an incubator for new ideas and a driver of stronger growth among its members.

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