AI World Society Distinguished Lecture at the ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters on UN Charter Day

On June 26, 2019, the 74th anniversary of the United Nations Charter Day, Boston Global Forum (BGF) was pleased to collaborate with United Nations Academic Impact to co-organize the AI World Society Distinguished Lecture delivered by Dr. David A. Bray in the ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations Headquarters. On this special day, the AI World Society Distinguished Lecture is named as the United Nations Charter Day Lecture.

Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, CEO of the Boston Global Forum, presented the AI World Society Distinguished Lecture Plaque to Dr. David Bray, after the Lecture.

Dr. Bray is the Executive Director of the People-Centered Internet Coalition and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Human-Machine Cognition, one of 24 American under 40 year- old that changed the world, Member of the AIWS Standards and Practice Committee.. He was a co-chair of the Summit on AI Governance, Big Data and Ethics, a special program of the AI World Government Conference two days earlier in Washington DC, of which the BGF was a part of the Strategic Alliance.

Dr. Bray’s talk at the UN entitled “Artificial Intelligence, the Internet and the Future of Data: Where Will We Be in 2045?” was about the impact of technology on the mission of the UN 100 years after its creation in 1945.

Dr. Bray’s talk consists of three main parts. In the first part, he raised several current issues which technology can help address, and suggested that the UN be an ideal place to start the conversation about them. An issue is that globalization has not benefited everyone and when it comes to the revolution involving AI automation, certain groups of people are not convinced enough to sign up. Another issue is that the technology also can incentivize wrong behaviors. The third issue is due to the fact that a significant number of people still do not have the same empathy toward their fellow human beings.

In the second part, Dr. Bray talked about ongoing tensions in both open and closed societies under ripple effects of technology. He mentioned global libertarianism, progressive localism, national protectionism, global neoliberalism, and national developmentalism as competing ideologies in open societies. In closed societies, tensions are due to taller “walled gardens”, increased censorship, and longing for a new world order.

In the third part, he proposed that technology can have impact on the following key questions: will tech continue to erode social cohesion? can we “act locally” and AIs “think globally” safely? will cognitive cold wars misuse the internet? will globalization’s “low tide” decimate rural areas”? and can tech balance national and ecological interests?

He concluded the talk with some actions the UN should consider. Firstly, we should demonstrate how people can have greater decision-rights regarding personal data. Second, we should use AI to make public health and health care in general more affordable. Last but not least, we should demonstrate how technology can positively reframe how we work as individuals and communities.

Dr. Bray’s talk was presented before a UN panel on Academic Impact. It offers a proposal on global developments not foreseen when the UN Charter was drafted but which, wisely used, could contribute to the realization of its purposes and principles.