In a city, Government regulation, combined with enforcement, is required to guide the communities behaviour and ensure the rule of law.
However, even with regulations, there are always loopholes which can be abused by corporations and residents alike. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought about a new challenge. Relying only on government legislation and incentives to ensure the right outcomes is ill-advised as these are likely to be out-of-date or redundant by the time they are implemented.
The examples of social media and drones demonstrate this point. There are interesting similarities between them; both use advanced technology in innovative and fast-changing environments and are therefore almost impossible to define with enough specificity to allow the lengthy regulatory process to run its course. By the time that a regulation is finally approved, the product or service has changed.
This white paper argues that the best way to ensure positive outcomes in such a complicated environment is to operate with a clear foundation of values, for example by focusing on basic principles like human dignity and the common good. This approach seems more effective than playing regulatory catch-up all the time. Without denying for a moment that the global regulatory environment is complex and will require technical specificity in most areas, the additional challenge of the need to demonstrate an ethical foundation should not be underestimated.
Rather than battling with the uncertainty brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, regulators should embrace it. The legal requirement to demonstrate how ethical principles have been applied is an important shift.
Value to the UAE Government
The example cited in this whitepaper on the regulations surrounding E-cigarettes is well observed in the UAE. The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma) is now considering lifting a ban and adding regulations for the sale of these products. No matter which route Esma decides to move ahead in that domain, the point being addressed in this whitepaper is the timeliness of the regulation. Several technologies that may potentially benefit the community are likely to be withheld until formal regulations are in place, and by the time the regulation comes to light, the actual technology will have updated above and beyond the scope of the actual regulation.