67th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference

CPA Virtual Conference: The 4th Industrial Revolution

Share Add to Calendar

Conference Overview

Dates: 5-9 July 2021

Location: Online

In 2021, the CPA celebrates its 110th Anniversary. As well as looking back at its evolution and achievements, this year provides a valuable opportunity for the CPA to look forward and consider how the Commonwealth, parliaments and democracy may evolve over the next 10, 50 and even 100 years.

In the spirit of looking forward, the CPA is hosting a Virtual Conference on the 4th Industrial Revolution, held from 5-9 July 2021.

This Conference will imagine how the '4th Industrial Revolution' might impact upon the lives of current and future generations within and across the Commonwealth and importantly, how will parliamentarians and parliaments stay ahead of the curve?

Will technological advancements provide viable solutions to current challenges, from ending global poverty, climate change and meeting the SDGs, to preventing future global pandemics? The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for those in power to play closer attention to scientists, researchers, statisticians and innovators.

The sessions at the Conference will also encourage and advocate for parliaments to embrace innovation and change rather than being limited to acting as bastions of tradition and history. Parliaments will need to legislate, regulate and scrutinise complex and advanced technical changes in years to come, from the use of bioengineering to artificial intelligence as well as ensuring greater access to science and technology specialists.

The Conference will invite parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to join with industry leaders, innovators, experts and academics from the private, public and third sector to discuss emerging trends in technology and their potential impact on our society.

What is the format for the Conference?

The CPA Virtual Conference on the 4th Industrial Revolution will take place on Zoom across five days from 5 - 9 July.

Each day of the Conference has a different theme and will feature multiple sessions, including:

  • Panel discussions
  • Showcases
  • Roundtables
  • 1-to-1 Dialogues
  • Explainers
  • Q+As

The timings for each day vary to cater for the different time zones across the nine CPA regions.

How can I attend the Conference?

To attend the Conference, you need to register on Zoom. You will then be sent a personalised link to attend.

You must register separately for each day of the Conference that you wish to attend. Each day has a separate Zoom link, which will function for all sessions during that day.

In the Conference Programme section below, there is a separate tab for each day of the Conference containing topics, timings and a link to register for that day. 

You can attend as many days of the Conference as you would like - just remember to register for each day individually.

You are encouraged to register by 2nd July at the latest as places are limited.

Conference Programme

The five themes for the conference are:

Click on each tab below to find full details including timings and session titles.

If you wish to attend multiple days, complete a separate form for each day, using the specific link for that day.

Each day of the Conference will complement the other days to provide a full overview of the emerging technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution. We hope to see you at as many sessions as possible!

REMINDER: You must register separately for each day of the conference using the Zoom registration links provided both above and in the various tabs below.

Day 1 (5 July)
Day 2 (6 July)
Day 3 (7 July)
Day 4 (8 July)
Day 5 (9 July)
List of Speakers


What is the 4th Industrial Revolution?


07:00 - 11:00 EDT (UTC -4) | 12:00 - 16:00 BST (UTC +1) | 16:00 - 20:00 PKT (UTC +5) | 21:00 - 01:00 AEST (UTC +10)

Sessions (all times BST):

  • 12:00 - 12:30 | Opening Remarks 
  • 12:35 - 13:45 | Roundtable: Digital Democracies & Closing the Digital Divide
  • 13:50 - 14:05 | Showcase: Innovation in Parliament
  • 14:10 - 15:35 | Panel: Regulating at Speed and Scale

Register for Day 1:



The 4th Industrial Revolution and Environmental Stewardship


01:00 - 04:15 EDT (UTC -4) | 06:00 - 09:15 BST (UTC +1) | 10:00 - 13:15 PKT (UTC +5) | 15:00 - 18:15 AEST (UTC +10)

Sessions (all times BST):

  • 06:00 - 06:30 | Showcase: Innovation in Green-Tech
  • 06:45 - 08:15 | Panel: Ensuring a Green Industrial Revolution
  • 08:20 - 08:50 | 1-to-1 Constructive Dialogue: Green Cities of the Future
  • 08:55 - 09:10 | Showcase: Green Communities and your Constituency

Register for Day 2:



Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Algorithms


05:00 - 08:30 EDT (UTC -4) | 10:00 - 13:30 BST (UTC +1) | 14:00 - 17:15 PKT (UTC +5) | 19:00 - 22:15 AEST (UTC +10)

Sessions (all times BST):

  • 10:00 - 10:30 | Showcase: AI and Machine Learning
  • 10:45 - 12:15 | Panel: The Potential (and Risks) of AI
  • 12:40 - 13:30 | 1-to-1 Discussion: Combatting Algorithm Bias

Register for Day 3:



Big Data and Blockchain Technology


09:00 - 12:00 EDT (UTC -4) | 14:00 - 17:00 BST (UTC +1) | 18:00 - 21:00 PKT (UTC +5) | 23:00 - 02:00 AEST (UTC +10)

Sessions (all times BST):

  • 14:00 - 14:30 | Showcase: Big Data and Social Goods
  • 14:35 - 15:05 | Explainer: What on Earth is Blockchain?
  • 15:10 - 16:25 | Panel: The Potential Uses for Blockchain
  • 16:30 - 16:50 | Showcase: Big Data and COVID-19

Register for Day 4:



Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things


12:00 - 15:00 EDT (UTC -4) | 17:00 - 20:00 BST (UTC +1) | 21:00 - 00:00 PKT (UTC +5) | 02:00 - 05:00 AEST (UTC +10)

Sessions (all times BST):

  • 17:00 - 17:30 | Showcase: The The Internet of Things in Action
  • 17:45 - 19:00 | Panel: Societal Benefits and Risks of the Internet of Things
  • 19:15 -20:00 | Closing Remarks

Register for Day 5:


  • Ms Sheila Warren, Deputy Head of the Centre for the 4th Industrial Revolution
  • Mr Andy Williamson, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Innovation in Parliament
  • Mr Ashish Jaiman, Director of Technology Operations at Microsoft
  • Ms Bernadette Lewis, Commonwealth Technology Organisation
  • Beverly Schafer, Western Cape Provincial Parliament
  • Professor Robert Sparrow, Professor of Philosophy at the Monash University Data Futures Institute
  • Lord Holmes of Richmond, Member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the 4th Industrial Revolution
  • Ms Nompendulo Mkatshwa, Member of the Higher Education, Science and Technology Committee of the Parliament of South Africa
  • Senator Terry Mercer, Canadian Senator
  • TBC, European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT)
  • Sneha Srinivasan, Hyperloop Mechanical Engineer
  • Mr Luke Bateson, Principal Remote Sensing Geologist, Drones Research (BGS)
  • TBC, Zero Avia
  • Professor Rachel Armstrong, Professor of Experimental Architecture
  • Dr Matthew Skjonsberg, Director of Future Cities Lab at ETH Zurich
  • Member of the CLGF CSCN Network
  • Ms Anusua Trivedi, Senior Data Science Lead, AI for Good Research Lab
  • Ivana Bartoletti, Co-Founder, Women Leading in AI
  • Hon. Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Digital
  • Sally Radwan, Minister's Advisor for Artificial Intelligence (Egypt)
  • Mr Taylor Reynolds, Technology Policy Director, Internet Policy Research Initiative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO
  • Ms Carolyn Ashurst, Senior Research Associate in Safe and Ethical AI, Alan Turing Institute
  • Open Cities Lab
  • Ms Sumedha Deshmukh, Platform Curator, Blockchain and Digital Currency, World Economic Forum
  • Kevin Gill, CTO IBM UK & Europe
  • Martin Doherty Hughes MP, Chair of the APPG on Blockchain
  • Cornelius Kalenzi, Postdoctoral Researcher, Korea Policy Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Global Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Celeste Muller, Partner Marketing Manager at IoT.nxt
  • Dr Ovidiu Vermesan, Chief Scientist, SINTEF DIGITAL
  • Neil Walsh, Chief of the Cybercrime and Anti-Money Laundering Section at the UNODC
  • Tracey Jessup, Chief Digital & Information Officer in the UK Parliament
  • Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General, CPA

Download the Conference Programme

Latest Issue:

Programme: CPA Virtual Conference on the 4th Industrial Revolution:

For a full breakdown of the sessions, speakers and timings, download the Conference Programme.


Get Involved

Excited to discuss the big questions on the future of technology and its impact on our democracies?

Follow us on Twitter @cpa_secretariat and join the conversation using #CPA4IR. We'll be tweeting throughout the Conference.

If you know parliamentary colleagues or others in your network that would be interested in the conference, use the share button at the top of the page to share it on social media or via email.

For questions about the conference, please contact Mr James Pinnell at james.pinnell@cpahq.org.

IMPORTANT: If you would like to attend this Conference, do not use the form below to register. You must register for each day of the Conference separately using the individual Zoom links above.