This study contextualizes the discussions around the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to the Arab countries. For more than two decades, ESCWA identified Biotechnologies and advanced Materials as critical industrialization for the future manufacturing in Arab countries. However, since 2016 with the acceleration in development of technologies enabled by affordable speed of light communications, powerful computing, and massive cloud information services and storage, the UN system adopted the frontier and digital technologies including Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and other Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies as strong enablers for accelerating the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
This study is the first publication for ESCWA on technologies of the 4IR. The report is primarily focused on the 4IR technologies and not the digital enablers, and advocates for adopting human rights-based approaches to offer a robust framework for the responsible development and use of frontier technologies, namely AI. Most of existing similar literature (specifically 22 regional references out of the full list of references) from this report references were surveyed and utilized to describe the most possible comprehensive reporting on the subject in Arab countries despite its relative newness and lack of related data.