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The Power of the Unsaid – Diplomatic Communication in the AI Era (Workshop)

25 April 2023

Belgrade, Serbia

Event description

So far in our history we have only been able to communicate with other humans using language but with the technological advancements and the rise of ChatGPT we can now converse with an AI chatbot. More surprisingly still, that bot may even speak and write more fluently than we do, outperforming us in speed, scope, and variety. This new era raises all sorts of questions regarding the changing dynamics between humans and AI, from authorship to manipulation, and from job redundancy to ethics.

How will ChatGPT impact diplomatic communication? This workshop provides an overview of how AI outperforms humans, and then focuses on the shortfalls of AI next to human linguistic abilities: lack of subtlety, lack of figurative thinking, lack of humour and compassion, and an inability to decipher implicit meaning. Given the speed and scope of AI, it also fails to use pauses and other time-factors strategically. Since all these skills are essential to diplomatic communication, we might ask whether AI can serve any purpose beyond report writing and data gathering.

In this workshop, we will explore the ways in which we can combine AI performance with the unique human skills by looking at the finer details of language and communication. If AI tends to be literal-minded whereas humans excel at implicit communication, we can then identify the different types of loaded language and show which parts AI could master with a bit of training. If AI cannot pick up on moral overtones, we investigate how these judgments are coded into communication and show how some areas might be taught to AI. In other words, we avoid sweeping generalisations about AI and delve into the details of language instead, exploring which grassroot components AI has already mastered and which ones it will with training. Finally, we ask whether there are any aspects of language which AI will not be able to master. 

The workshop is exercise-driven and requires active participation. Although the workshop is run in English, the lessons learned are applicable to all languages.

All participants who complete the workshop will receive a certificate issued by DiploFoundation.

Workshop facilitator

Dr Biljana Scott was trained as a linguist (BA in Chinese, M.Phil and D.Phil in Linguistics, University of Oxford). Dr Scott is a senior fellow at DiploFoundation and an associate of the China Centre, University of Oxford, where she taught for 25 years. She lectures and workshops internationally.


  • Date: Tuesday, 25 April, 10:00–16:00 CEST
  • Venue: Diplo Centar, Braničevska 12a, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Fee: 950 EUR
  • A limited number of full scholarships are available for applicants from developing countries.
    Discounts are available for more than one participant from the same institution.
  • Due to the limited number of places (maximum 20 participants), applications will be assessed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

For further information, please contact Mr Andrej Škrinjarić at