Rockefeller Foundation Workshop on Responsible AI Futures

The Rockefeller Foundation has committed itself to shape the design and impact of Artificial Intelligence on Society with a series of workshops and vision documents. The first in its series – ‘Designing a Responsible AI Future’ just took place in Bellagio Italy on Oct 9-12 ,2019. I was invited to contribute to this effort alongside technologists, thought leaders, academics, and artists, although admittedly, while diverse in their disciplines and focus, were primarily from the Anglo-Saxon region. 

So the conversation was dominated by United States concerns and issues with an emphasis on decentralization of tech, and focus on the harmful effects of fintech, facial recognition, and other innovations as a means of building a responsible AI. While undoubtedly accountability matters very much so, from a global perspective, the opportunities of AI, and the importance of convergence of diverse platforms into these hyper-ecosystems emerge from the vantage point of scarce resources and thereby to push for efficiency and everyday governance, close relations between the private and the public sector as part of a larger development paradigm and most importantly, to leverage on the motivations of the users and their high enthusiasm for all things tech which is quite the opposite of the typical mindset nowadays among users in the global north.

Either way, was very informative in mapping these perspectives and understanding these overarching biases in policy and practice in the Global North, particularly among Europeans and Americans.

Keynote and Fireside chat on AI4Good at NEXT event Hamburg

The NEXT 19 at Hamburg – what an event! Beautifully curated with the right mix of humor, creativity, seriousness and playfulness – the kind of thoughtful event required for the public to engage with important and timely subjects It was a brilliant move to connect this festival with the Reeperbahn Festival which basically mixed the crowd of tech people, creative industry folks -media, design, advertising…

I had a blast doing my keynote on my book The Next Billion Users.  The audience really engaged and I am getting really into going back and forth with them during my talks these days. I always get the surprisely reactions of how come I am so optimistic in this time of the doom and gloom of social media killing democracy, our minds, our communities and more and of course, we have been here many times before. We fall in love and we fall out of love with tech – that which we love, we fear, we loathe and then it starts all over again. Like I said at the tail end of my talk – you cannot reform that which you do not love. We need to fall back in love with tech. Its like a marriage, not an affair. We are in for the long haul – for better and for worse. 

Also was cool to gather around for a fireside chat on AI for Good  with Lorena Jaume-Palasí, founder of The Ethical Tech Society, a non-profit organization researching processes of automation and digitization with regards to their social relevance and Astrid Maier, chief editor at Xing, who moderated this conversation.

To top it off, Hamburg is just such a cool city and I stayed in a water tower hotel which was a nice cherry on top. Cool crowd. Cool event.