lighting, Diplomacy

The impact of AI on diplomacy and international relations

28 January 2019

Brussels, Belgium

Event description

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 a forthcoming 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.

Date and Time:
Monday 28 January 2019

Press Club, Rue Froissart 95 – Brussels, Belgium

Hosted by:
DiploFoundation and the Center for Data Innovation

Speakers and Panellists to be confirmed.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #datainnovation and #AIdiplomacy

Provisional Agenda:

9:00 – 9:30 Registration

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 practiced.  

10:45 – 11:30 Panel 1: The Geostrategic Impacts of AI

This panel explores the geo-strategic 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, panelists will consider the ability of countries to harness the power of AI and concerns about a widening digital divide between developed and developing countries.

11:45 – 12:30 Panel 2: AI as a Cognitive Tool for Diplomatic Practice

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?  

12:45 – 13:30 Panel 3: AI, Human Rights, and Ethics in International Relations  

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.

13:30 Concluding Remarks Followed by Lunch


DiploFoundation: Katharina E. Höne

Center for Data Innovation: Eline Chivot