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The Club de Madrid’s Policy Dialogue Will take place on the 21st and 22nd of October in the Cibeles’ Palace

Club de Madrid | IE Global Public and Affairs

Club de Madrid’s Policy Dialogue will seek policy solutions to rollout of artificial intelligence in our societies.

Around 35 Members of World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid (WLA-CdM), all democratic former Heads of State and Government, will join representatives from governments, civil society, academia and tech companies in a discussion to define policy proposals that address the challenges of digital transformation and artificial intelligence (AI) in our societies.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of WLA-CdM and former President of Latvia, warns of the big governance challenges that the technological transformation brings along, while also acknowledging its great opportunities. With this in mind, WLA-CdM has partnered with the IE School of Global & Public Affairs in the organization of its 2019 Policy Dialogue titled ‘Digital Transformation and the Future of Democracy: How can Artificial Intelligence Drive Democratic Governance?’

“The rise of AI will change our societies in ways researchers are only beginning to examine, and democratic governments simply cannot afford to lag behind. We must govern the technological game before it governs us, not through censorship or trying to stop innovation, but by acquiring competencies and a better understanding of how AI could work for us”, says President Vike Freiberga.

“The digital economy has long been producing clear winners and losers. Citizens, and governments, around the world are now coming to realize the implications of this disparity and the necessity to take concrete steps.”

A recent survey conducted by IE’s Center for the Governance of Change found that two thirds of Europeans are worried about the speed and direction of technological progress, and more than 70% support the taxation of firms that automate jobs, as well as limiting robotization of tasks currently performed by human beings. “The digital economy has long been producing clear winners and losers. Citizens, and governments, around the world are now coming to realize the implications of this disparity and the necessity to take concrete steps”, says Manuel Muñiz, Dean of the School of Global and Public Affairs at IE University. It is therefore necessary to have a structured debate about the impact of emerging technologies on society and to propose solutions to the negative externalities of this process.

AI is set to bring about a radical transformation that will disrupt economic and social trends, raise new ethical dilemmas and change the existing balance of power between states. At a time of growing inequality and wide-spread mistrust of institutions, democracies will need to work out AI’s rollout in our societies without giving up on their foundational values. “The digital is political”, says participating tech author Jamie Susskind. Hence, only through innovative policies will democracies be able to reap the benefits of these technologies and avoid added uncertainty.

The WLA-CdM’s 2019 Policy Dialogue is expected to produce a ‘Call to Action’ at the conclusion of its deliberations on 22 October and a set of policy recommendations that will be published in the subsequent weeks. WLA-CdM Members, the sounding board of the organization’s innovative ideas, will then advocate for their implementation.

A recent survey conducted by IE’s Center for the Governance of Change found that two thirds of Europeans are worried about the speed and direction of technological progress, and more than 70% support the taxation of firms that automate jobs, as well as limiting robotization of tasks currently performed by human beings. “The digital economy has long been producing clear winners and losers. Citizens, and governments, around the world are now coming to realize the implications of this disparity and the necessity to take concrete steps”, says Manuel Muñiz, Dean of the School of Global and Public Affairs at IE University. It is therefore necessary to have a structured debate about the impact of emerging technologies on society and to propose solutions to the negative externalities of this process.

Club de Madrid’s Policy Dialogue

Thanks to WLA-CdM’s convening power and network, its annual Policy Dialogues provide a unique platform to inspire democratic policy change on a given topic. Former Heads of State and Government bring their individual and collective experience to the dialogue. Given their geographical and ideological diversity, collegially provide an all-encompassing voice enhanced independent experts, leaders from the private sector and representatives from civil society, all of whom actively engage in these Policy Dialogues.

Club de Madrid will center its proposals in three areas.

WLA-CdM has identified three thematic areas in need of reform. Each area will be a working group at the Policy Dialogue:

– Fundamental Rights in the Digital Age.

As private firms, organizations and governments increasingly base their business models on data, concern over the misuse of citizens’ personal data is on the rise. Should individuals exert more ownership of their data? Furthermore, decisions taken by algorithms fuelled by large quantities of sensitive personal data will significantly impact human lives. How can we guarantee that decisions taken by or with the help of algorithms are not discriminatory? Who is accountable for them? Massive data collection by governments also poses an enormous challenge in undemocratic contexts, increasing the chance of large-scale repressive surveillance.

– Data Economies and the Future of the Social Contract

Economies based on data and AI carry immense promises, albeit risks are not scarce. Data ownership by a handful of companies already creates an asymmetry of power, hindering fair competition and limiting government’s capacity to act. Moreover, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to completely revamp the world of employment with great potential to generate long-lasting inequalities. How can governments stand up to these challenges? The silver lining is that big data, AI and related technologies can also become a significant asset to better deliver and distribute public goods.

– Trust and Public Debate in the Disinformation Age

The 2016 US Presidential Election, the Brexit Referendum and more recent events like the Brazilian Presidential Election are just some examples of how democratic systems have been affected by disinformation and the malevolent spread of fake news that lives and thrives in the digital space. Public debate in such an environment, also often characterized by echo chambers that push citizens away from multifaceted analysis and into ideological one-sidedness, increases political polarization. Ultra-targeted advertisements fed with sensitive personal data gathered with little to no transparency have also altered the course of election processes. Creating the conditions for a safer public discourse, based on reliable, balanced and complete information and figuring out the role of media in doing so is fundamental for regaining people’s trust in democracy and its institutions.

About

World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid is the largest worldwide assembly of political leaders working to strengthen democratic values, good governance and the well-being of citizens across the globe. As a non-profit, non-partisan, international organization, its network is composed of more than 100 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from over 60 countries, together with a global body of advisors and experts practitioners, who offer their voice and agency on a pro bono basis, to today’s political, civil society leaders and policymakers. WLA-CdM responds to a growing demand for trusted advice in addressing the challenges involved in achieving ‘democracy that delivers’, building bridges, bringing down silos and promoting dialogue for the design of better policies for all. This alliance represents an independent effort towards sustainable development, inclusion and peace, not bound by the interest or pressures of institutions and governments, by providing the experience, access and convening power of its Members.

IE School of Global and Public Affairs aims to build talent and knowledge in complex, interdependent and fast-changing environments in which challenges and opportunities can only be addressed through a practical understanding of social, political, technological and economic interconnections. With over 1,000 students, the School combines a multidisciplinary approach to professional education guided by problem-solving driven pedagogy, forward-looking teaching and fostering adaptability. Being a full member of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA), the School has positioned itself as the most innovative academic institution in global affairs. Beyond teaching, the School holds a wide portfolio in applied research and outreach. It supports two observatories on European and Latin American politics and economy; the Transatlantic Initiative with Harvard’s Kennedy School; the PublicTech Lab; and the Center for the Governance of Change, a ground-breaking research institution that seeks to enhance our ability to manage innovation and navigate exponential change in a variety of domains –political, economic and societal.