World Trade Organization: Acknowledging AI Applications for a Better Future


 WTO addresses smart AI applications to serve better in the nearby future

The WTO Public Forum 2018 is considering the future of trade from the perspective of future generations. The WTO has recognized the value of the vision and thoughts of the youth on the technologies of the 4th industrial revolution that will shape the future of trade. With this in mind, the Geneva Hub of the Global Shapers Community has leveraged the opportunity of the WTO Public Forum 2018 to bring the voice of youth to issues of the future of trade in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. Industry 4.0 is rapidly demonstrating that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts. And it is in ensuring that the “whole” does come together that the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) has a key role to play.

The TBT agreement addresses regulatory interventions that may affect trade-in products. This will be the case for many Industry 4.0-related standards and regulations. The unparalleled speed and breadth of the current “revolution” unfold every day with new digital products being invented ready to fulfill needs we did not even know we had. These developments invariably expose a “dark side” of new technology; of risks that we also did not know could even exist. You may have heard that “IoT toasters” may be misused and turned into “weapons of mass destruction”

Cooperation on technical standards is also especially important when confronting novel regulatory challenges and risks, such as those related to “dual use technologies” (i.e., both for civil and defence purposes) or to the area of AI. Technical standards applying to dual-use technologies, for instance with respect to radio, telecommunication, and network security, or autonomous vehicles and aircraft, are notified by WTO members under the TBT Agreement.

The surveyed Global Shapers Hubs all agree that the technologies that will have the most impact on the future of trade are artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things. These are followed by 3D printing and augmented reality/virtual reality.

The WTO sees further applications of AI that should be considered in its capacity:

• Improved Customer Services: AI in its human-friendly format will allow for faster and more accurate handling of consumer questions, improving customer satisfaction, and forcing companies to invest resources in ensuring their products, services, and support systems are identified and appreciated by the end-user.

• Improved Delivery Systems: The fusion between AI and Autonomous Vehicles (Drones, Trucks, Cars, etc) will enable quicker deliveries in any part of the World, making the purchase of goods easier and eventually driving population “migration” towards suburban and rural areas.

• Improved Decision Making: Certainly, one of the biggest impacts of AI is in supporting humans in making decisions. For public-private managers this means being able to leverage data more accurately, opening new business opportunities that may be currently impossible to evaluate.

• Re-Shaping Jobs: Manually intensive jobs in logistics, demand planning, manufacturing, customer service will be automated thanks to the application of AI and other technologies.

• Considering the ethical side of technology: While it is yet to take a serious look at the many ethical debates that technology will continue to raise, AI may well force key stakeholders to include ethical discussions in the global agenda. It is believed that it cannot be considered building the future of trade unless it includes ethics in the debate.

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Analytics Insight is an influential platform dedicated to insights, trends, and opinions from the world of data-driven technologies. It monitors developments, recognition, and achievements made by Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Analytics companies across the globe.

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