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IE University and Microsoft launch AI4Democracy

IE University and Microsoft launch AI4Democracy
This global initiative seeks to create knowledge and promote action for a responsible use of artificial intelligence to defend and strengthen democracy.

IE University and Microsoft launch AI4Democracy

Today, the Center for the Governance of Change at IE University and Microsoft launched AI4Democracy, a global initiative that seeks to create knowledge and mobilize democratic governments, companies and civil society to promote action for a responsible use of artificial intelligence to defend and strengthen democracy.

Carme Artigas, Spain’s Secretary of State of Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, delivered the keynote address at the launch event at IE Tower in Madrid. Secretary of State Artigas highlighted: "The age of artificial intelligence presents us with a landscape full of confounding challenges, but also unlimited possibilities. These possibilities go beyond technical applications and may go to the core of our rule of law and democracy that we value so much."

Manuel Muñiz, Chair of the Center for the Governance of Change and Provost of IE University, presented the key pillars and objectives of AI4Democracy to a selected audience of high-level government officials, top executives and AI experts. Mr. Muñiz emphasized the strategic importance of AI governance for Spain, the EU and governments around the world, noting that: 

"It is imperative that governments, the private sector and civil society find avenues of cooperation to harness AI for the common good."
Manuel Muñiz, Chair of the Center for the Governance of Change and Provost of IE University

Katarina Wallin Bureau, Head for EU Strategic Relations at Microsoft, outlined the company’s commitment to the AI4Democracy partnership, stating: "We are very pleased to continue and expand our partnership with IE University and to support their work on the future of democracy and AI. We are eager to see this important program put into action and contribute its independent research and perspectives to the global debate on democratic AI governance."

AI4Democracy seeks to make a very tangible impact on how AI can be leveraged to, on the one hand, defend democracies against disinformation and adversarial attacks and, on the other hand, strengthen democracy by making it more responsive, participatory and effective. For example, by using AI to help policymakers better understand the topics populations are sensitive to, to educate citizens in the principles of democratic life or to promote collective input in policymaking.

To advance these goals, the Center for the Governance of Change, supported by Microsoft, will build alliances among international organizations and democratic governments to advocate for concrete policy action by governments and promote responsible action by businesses that develop AI models.

Under the AI4Democracy initiative, the Center for the Governance of Change will organize and participate in high-profile events around the world to build alliances with governments and international organizations and contribute to the global conversation on how AI can support democracy. The Center will also produce a policy paper series by global AI experts that will offer specific, action-oriented recommendations for governments and AI developers. 

AI4Democracy is the continuation of the Tech4Democracy program, an initiative led by IE University in partnership with the United States Department of State and with the strategic support of Microsoft. Tech4Democracy sought to advance democracy-affirming technologies, studying them through the prism of geopolitics and global governance. As part of Tech4Democracy, the Center for the Governance of Change ran startup competitions in Spain, Colombia, the United States, India and South Africa, with partners such as Stanford University, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the University of Toronto, the European University Institute or the Inter-American Development Bank.