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[Event summary] The impact of AI on diplomacy and international relations

01 February 2019

Monday, 28th January 2019
Espace Banca Monte Paschi Belgio, Avenue d’Auderghem 22-28, Brussels, Belgium
Please note: to access the venue, exit the metro on the south side following signs to Justus Lipsius, Europa/EJC, La Renaissance. Avoid the Berlaymont and Charlemagne exits. See map.

Hosted by: DiploFoundation and the Center for Data Innovation
Follow the conversation on Twitter using #datainnovation and #AIdiplomacy

There have been significant advances in artificial intelligence (AI) over the past decade which have lead to many debates about its potential social, economic, and security impact. However, little sustained attention has been paid to the impact of AI on international relations in general, and on the work of diplomats and policy makers in particular.

Greater scrutiny is necessary because AI will have a significant impact on international relations, such as putting new topics on the international agenda, challenging geostrategic relations, serving as a tool for diplomats and negotiators, and creating new opportunities and concerns about protecting human rights.

DiploFoundation addresses these important changes in the just released report Mapping AI’s challenges and opportunities for the conduct of diplomacy, which was commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Join DiploFoundation and the Center for Data Innovation to learn about the report’s key findings and discuss the need for further research, capacity development, and practice in the sphere of AI and international relations with other stakeholders from government, the private sector, and civil society.

Provisional agenda:

9:00 – 9:30


9:30 – 9:45

Opening remarks by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

9:45 – 10:30

Report launch and presentation of key findings, followed by audience Q&As
The report maps the field of AI and diplomacy through a discussion of AI as a tool for diplomatic practice, a topic for diplomatic negotiations, and an element shaping the environment in which diplomacy is practised.
Presentation: Katharina Höne, Senior Lecturer, Researcher, and Project Manager, DiploFoundation

10:45 – 11:30

Panel 1: The geostrategic impacts of AI: Richard Stirling, Ceo & Co-founder, Oxford Insights; Michael Street, Head of Innovation & Data Science, NATO & NCI; Maaike Verbruggen, Ph.D. Researcher International Security, Institute for European Studies. 
This panel explores the geostrategic shifts AI innovations lead to and highlights some of the most important changes that can be expected. The panel will look at how countries are beginning to position themselves in relation to AI and explore relevant AI strategies. The panel will also discuss where Europe fits, in relation to the United States and China, and whether there should be a distinctive European approach to AI. Lastly, panellists will consider the ability of countries to harness the power of AI and concerns about a widening digital divide between developed and developing countries.
Moderator: Nicole Reynolds, Project Manager, DiploFoundation

11:45 – 12:30

Panel 2: AI as a cognitive tool for diplomatic practice: Andrew Tony Camilleri, Technical Attaché, Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union; Arnaud Gaspart, Business Intelligence Analyst, Management Unit of the Secretary General at Belgium’s Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation; Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director and Co-Lead, United Nations SG High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation; Philippe Lorenz, Project Director, Artificial Intelligence and Foreign Policy, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung.
A number of professions are already using AI, and the technology may become a key tool for diplomatic practice as well. Advances in AI, particularly the use of natural language processing and machine learning, can be used to support part of the work of diplomats, including the preparation of negotiations and research. How can diplomats best make use of this emerging technology, and what are the obstacles to its adoption and use?
Moderator: Eline Chivot, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation

12:45 – 13:30

Panel 3: AI, human rights, and ethics in international relations: Nicholas Hodac, Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM; Ricardo Castanheira, Public Policy, Government, and European Affairs, Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union; Nicolas Moës, AI Policy Researcher, The Future Society – AI Initiative; Brian Parai, Deputy Director, Results and Delivery Unit, Global Affairs Canada.
This panel explores ethical considerations around AI. Existing and emerging initiatives, such as those by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, offer useful guidance in this debate. How can the existing robust principles of non-discrimination, ethics, and privacy inspire and be applied to existing frameworks in international relations? The panel explores the key ingredients for these frameworks to support the development of AI while addressing the human rights and ethical questions it leads to.
Moderator: Tereza Horejsova, Project Development Director, DiploFoundation, and Executive Director at Diplo US


Concluding remarks followed by lunch


Andrew Tony Camilleri, Telecoms and Digital Affairs Attaché
Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union

Nicholas Hodac (@IBMEuropePolicy), Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive
Philippe Lorenz (@Ph_Lorenz), Project Director
Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
Jovan Kurbalija (@jovankurbalija), Executive Director, DiploFoundation
Secretariat of the UN High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation
Nicolas Moës, AI Policy Researcher
The Future Society – AI Initiative
Brian Parai, Deputy Director, Results and Delivery Unit
Global Affairs Canada
Richard Stirling (@Rchards), Chief Executive Officer
Oxford Insights
Michael Street, Head of Innovation & Data Science
Maaike Verbruggen (@M__Verbruggen), PhD Researcher International Security
Institute for European Studies


DiploFoundation: Katharina E. Höne katharinah@diplomacy.edu 
Center for Data Innovation: Eline Chivot echivot@datainnovation.org

*Please note that the event is now full. However, you can still register to be placed on the waiting list. 

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