Fourth Industrial Revolution for the Earth is a publication series highlighting opportunities to solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges by harnessing technological innovations supported by new and effective approaches to governance, financing and multistakeholder collaboration. Harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for Sustainable Emerging Cities is published by the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security in partnership with PwC and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.
Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and drones, the Internet of things, advanced materials, 3D printing and biotechnology are particularly relevant to sustainable emerging cities. Many are already showing promise at reshaping urban sectors - including transport, energy, waste, water, and buildings – and change will only accelerate. Cities can harness these pioneering technologies, combined with each other and with new business models, to not only enhance urban economic productivity but to reduce environmental impact and increase wellbeing. The 4IR, however, also presents its own set of risks. Emerging cities need to invest in the enabling technological infrastructure and skills to ensure they don’t get left behind, and to minimise unintended harmful impacts of the 4IR.