Bahrain and UK to pilot AI procurement guidelines across public sector

Bahrain and UK to test AI procurement guidelines across government.Ronaldo Lemos, Director, Institute for Technology & Society, Brazil; Young Global Leader, Chen Yangqiu, President, Hitachi (China) Research & Development, People's Republic of China, Leonard Stein, Senior Vice-President, Global Affairs, Splunk, USA, Oliver Morgan, Director, Health Emergency Information and Risk Assessment, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Yuan Hui, Chairman, Shanghai Xiaoi Robot Technology, People's Republic of China and Simon Galpin, Managing Director, Bahrain Economic Development Board, Bahrain during the during the Session: "Unlocking Public-Sector AI" at the World Economic Forum - Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, People's Republic of China, July 3, 2019. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Jakob Polacsek

Bahrain, in partnership with the UK, will put to test the new guidelines produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the procurement of artificial intelligence (AI) in the public sector.

Both countries will pilot the framework and provide feedback.

An announcement in this connection was made by WEF and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) during the WEF Annual Meeting of the New Champions held at Dalian in China.

Bahrain teamed up with the UK government to help design the guidelines and evaluate them in real-world conditions.

WEF head and managing board member Murat Sonmez said: “Last year at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, we announced that the Forum and the UK government would build the world’s first AI procurement policy.

“Bahrain’s decision to pilot the framework demonstrates the Centre Network’s unique ability to accelerate and scale innovative ways to govern emerging technology. We are looking forward to rolling the framework out to more partners around the world.”

According to EDB, AI has vast potential to optimise and transform the delivery of services for governments. The agency said that public institutions are often circumspect of adopting AI because of inadequate understanding and concerns over complexity.

It said that public institutions lack the knowledge that is required for implementing the technology successfully.

In 2017, WEF announced that it would bring governments, start-ups, businesses and civil society together for jointly designing guidelines to empower governments to deploy AI technology responsibly and sustainably.

EDB chief executive Khalid Al Rumaihi said: “When it comes to the governance and regulation of emerging technologies, Bahrain has earned a reputation as the Middle East’s testbed thanks to its innovative regulatory framework, strong technology ecosystem and rapid shift to eGovernment.

“AI can deliver huge benefits to citizens, but it needs a robust framework for successful implementation, and this project with WEF will build a global knowledge-base that can be used by other governments to sustainably and responsibly introduce AI across their public sector institutions.”