19-20 MAY 2021
Transatlantic Roundtable on Artificial Intelligence and beyond
with the Balsillie
University of Waterloo
PARTICIPANTS & AGENDA
Introduction – Michal Koran (GARI) and Ann Fitz-Gerald (BSIA)
Session 1: The Case for Human-Responsible AI Tech Development (Moderator: Rohinton Medhora (CIGI); Discussant 1: Jiri Sedivy (European Defence Agency); Discussant 2: Tony Curzon-Price (UK Cabinet Office)
Session 2: Democratization and AI (Moderator: Odessa Primus (GARI); Discussant 1: Holger Hoos (Leiden University); Discussant 2: Jeremy Hunsinger (University of Waterloo)
Session 3: Digital Multilateralism (Moderator: Ann Fitz-Gerald (BSIA); Discussant 1: Catherine Mulligan (UCL); Discussant 2: Bob Fay (CIGI)
Session 4: The Great Divide (Moderator: Odessa Primus (GARI); Discussant 1: Patrick van der Smagt (Volkswagen Group); Discussant 2: Fakhri Karry (AI Institute, UW)
Session 5: Empowerment vs Fear Control (Moderator: Jatin Nathwani (BSIA/UW); Discussant 1: Ratislav Kacer (Globsec; Discussant 2: Aaron Schull (CIGI)
Adding to the already deeply cracking post-war multilateralism, the competing ideas about managing, regulating and profiting from the seemingly endless global landscape of digital environment push the global centrifugal tendencies to their new highs. We are witnessing several global fault lines: data protection, digital taxation, content regulation, anti-monopoly regulations, AI-competition, chip industries, to name just a few. Should these fault lines go on unchecked the nascent decoupling and disentangling of the global digital sphere will have disastrous impact on the world economy, security and politics. Realistically speaking, under the current conditions, it is rather naive to believe that a global digital multilateral framework can be devised, especially with China and the U.S. drifting apart with an ever-increasing velocity. But it is of crucial importance to at least try and, more crucially, to make sure that such a dialogue is being conducted at a trans-Atlantic level.
DEMOCRATIZATION AND AI
The idea behind forming the Global Arena Research Institute was partly inspired by the need to democratize AI and Big Data research in social sciences and humanities. Interestingly enough, when GARI launched, the idea of AI and social sciences was a nascent one and almost did not penetrate a wider audience. Since then (2015), often without really embracing the opportunities this particular interdisciplinary approach can yield, the social sciences and humanities have turned to a critical if fearful stance. Without dismissing the case for prudence, our goal remains the same: to explore, apply and manage the potential of a wide social scientific AI research while mitigating the potentially harmful effects of spreading of AI. Very recently, new initiatives aiming at the democratization of AI have taken place, especially in the US but more needs to be done in Europe. Even the new research supporting instruments of the European Commission seem to drive the wedge between tech and social sciences deeper: there is little attempt to foster a natural and organic link between these two, rather, the social sciences are again forced to “study the impact” of technologies or improving access to technologies, rather than being encouraged to promote a closer marriage of the two.
KEEP THE HUMAN IN THE LOOP: THE CASE FOR HUMAN RESPONSIBLE AI/TECH DEVELOPMENT
Keeping humans in the loop entails keeping the human in decision-making in a time of progressive and fast-paced automation in defence, the labour market, mobility, the dawn of legal and financial AI automated reasoning and general fears of shelving human-centred control in favour of automated intelligent (artificially) control in making decisions and electing strands of strategy. On the one hand, we must consider the reasonability of automated decision-making and control, keeping in mind the programming is designed, built and controlled by humans, and on the other hand the option of electing some decisions to actually be made by the AI. This is a particularly fragile topic in defence and security. How to keep the “human” in the loop if we don’t want to start with regulation? How to achieve that if the interests differ so vastly?
Exploration and forward-thinking are amazing qualities humans have always possessed. Looking at the future in terms of opportunities rather than risks is what drives positive progress, ensures the path is designed in our image and often as a result, manifestation or expression bypasses or solves potential unformulated problems that may or may not externalise themselves in the future. However, visualising potential yet non-existent problems that may appear in the future, and prioritising solving those yet-unmanifested challenges robs us of the privileged and completely realistic opportunity and ability to craft, construct and accomplish a human-centric future.
THE GREAT DIVIDE: UNEVEN ACCESS
The risks associated with uneven access to the benefits of information and communication technologies (and other hi-tech developments that are dramatically changing the socio-economic environment) and the likelihood of a further increase of inequality of access have been widely acknowledged by now. “Digital divide” intensifies the already existing socio-economic fault lines like age, education, income, gender or race. Add the growing misuse (or abuse) of personal data and disinformation campaigns into the grinder and what you get is an explosive mix of fear, populism and anxiety, all related to the effects of technology and globalization sneaking into everyone’s life. The COVID19 pandemic, sadly, will only further bolster the tearing forces.
In our understanding, the digital divide is not a narrow concept of people not having access to the internet, not understanding or utilising big data and AI, or simply not trusting any technology. Instead, it is a broader issue of people not being able to profit from the wide range of possibilities the digitally-driven economy and society, as well as new technologies offer.
TECHNOLOGY: EMPOWERMENT VS FEAR AND CONTROL
The last point aims at exploring the nexus of new technologies as tools to empower societies vs. tool to control/exploit societies and related anxieties. So far, the focus is (understandably so) more on the issues of control, utility, efficiency and profitability of technologies. How to turn our attention to empowerment and legitimacy without overburdening and choking the technological progress with regulations and anxieties?
NEXT 100 SYMPOSIUM 2019
The N100 platform’s mission is to bring together the most progressive minds in the economic, business and technological fields together with the most innovative and prominent international political figures, as well as impactful social scientists, thinkers, economists and natural scientists. Our joint task is to pave the way for a working dialogue about how to translate the crisis-driven language into future-oriented ideas on a global scale and a vision of the next one hundred years.
TOP SPEAKERS INCLUDED
Jeffrey Sachs, renowned economist, SDG advocate
Jim Balsillie, former CEO, Research in Motion
JP Kloppers, Founder & CEO, BrandsEye
Frederick Bordry, Director, CERN
Tim Palmer, Professor, Oxford University
Martina Dlabajova, Member European Parliament
NEXT 100 SYMPOSIUM 2018
The Next 100 Symposium 2018 took place in Prague, Czech Republic from November 14 to 15, 2018 to address how the social and computational sciences can come together to face our future’s greatest global and political challenges.
Recognising the vast potential for collaboration between the technical and social sciences, The Next 100 Symposium aims to provide a platform for transformative dialogue between those working with society’s most cutting-edge technology and those working in social scientific fields.
We Did ...
bring together the most progressive minds in the technological and computing fields with influential social scientists and thinkers to discuss rising challenges to the global order;
start a dialogue on all levels about how to use the most innovative computing capabilities to address challenges in the social scientific sphere;
draft a new perspective on global normative and institutional frameworks, which will result in reflections and recommendations for future debates and endeavours, and in impact-related strategies and policy recommendations.
Director of Technology
Swedish Ambassador to the Czech Republic
International Monetary Fund Europe
Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation
Minister of Foreign Affairs
SEE OTHERS SPEAKERS
Next 100 ReDefiners
The Next 100 ReDefiners program brings together selected students from diverse fields including humanities, social sciences, engineering, computing science, art and the natural sciences. The students form small international teams and identify one issue that they perceive to be the paramount global challenge for our future. Working collaboratively, teams incorporate innovative ideas from their respective fields and propose a way to address this challenge. Up to ten teams will be invited to Prague for a five day-long workshop, during which time they finalize their proposals. The top teams, as selected by a panel of experts, will be invited to present their ideas at the Next 100 Symposium.
GARI LAUNCH CELEBRATION
On Wednesday, 3rd of October, GARI celebrated its official launch in Prague.
The event, held at Opero, was widely attended by high-profile people from various sectors including government, diplomatic, scientific, corporate, financial, academic, non-profit and the media.
An opening panel explored "Humanity and Tech-driven Futures: Responsible Globalization, Governance, and Innovation" with
Ales Chmelar, State Secretary for European Affairs, Office of Government, Czech Republic
Arzu Geybullayeva, Freelance Journalist, Former OTF Fellow at Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University
Josef Urban, Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics, Head of European Research Council project AI4Reason
moderated by GARI Founder
Michal Koran, Fulbright Alumni - WCFIA, Harvard University
On Tuesday, September 19th the Global Arena Research Institute organized an initial working meeting of the Strategic Grant of the International Visegrad Fund - V4 CARE-ARSEC (Computer Aided Reasoning in Assessing Regional Socio-economic Complexity). The internal working meeting took place in Wroclaw, in cooperation with the project partner - Politechnika Wroclaw.
The meeting was joined by representatives of all the project partners (Masaryk University, Brno, Kopint-Tárki Institute, Budapest, Slovak Foreign Policy Association, Bratislava and Politechnika Wroclaw).
The participants agreed on the schedule of internal and public events related to the project and discussed the conceptual, methodological and other research issues. Strong emphasis was put on preparing the innovative conjunction of Big and Complex data and Complex Network analysis and the research on international relations and economy. The next event will be a public forum, held in Prague in early December 2018.
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC CONGRESS
GARI's panel on May 16, 2018 at the European Economic Congress Katowice, Poland - European Start-up Days tackled the topic of "Technology versus humanity: To overcome the contradictions." Panelists discussed the growing societal fear of a technology-driven future. Although technology is increasingly blamed for destroying jobs and upending politics, the way to respond is not to turn the clock back on innovation. Three speakers drew on their unique backgrounds in order to share their views on how to translate the energy that is driving technological development into a positive societal impact. GARI was pleased to welcome distinguished speakers including Iwona Grochowska (Co-Founder, CEO, Nais), Marek Havrda (Strategy Adviser, Good AI), and Stefan Thurner (President, Complexity Science Hub Vienna) as panelists. The discussion was moderated by Michal Kořan (Founder, President, Global Arena Research Institute).
On Monday June 4th, 2018, GARI's founder Michal Koran took part in a lively discussion organized by Asociace pro mezinárodní otázky/Association for International Affairs and Polish Institute in Prague. The debate revolved around interpretations of the Czech and Polish positions within and towards the European Union.
BRUSSELS WORKING BREAKFAST
On Friday, November 24th, 2017, the Global Arena Research Institute presented its mission, future steps and debated the risks and opportunities of the Global Arena Research approach with the representatives of (among others) the European Commission - DG Research and Innovation, European Commission - European Political Strategy Centre, European Research Council, European External Action Service, United Nations Liaison Office in Brussels, European Central Bank in Brussels, Geostrategic Intelligence Group, London School of Economics/IDEAS, Mission of Finland to NATO, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles.
The three energizing hours of debate extended ownership of the initiative to various stakeholders and allowed for critical feedback on our mission.
SYMPOSIUM ON CZECH FOREIGN POLICY
In October, the Global Arena Research Institute
co-sponsored the 9th International Symposium on
Czech Foreign Policy - "Responsibility in a
Leaderless World", where, among others speakers,
Joachim Bitterlich delivered the keynote speech and the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs opened the event.