Abe Declares NK’s Nuclear Program Suspension to be “Forward Motion”

Image:Joe Skipper/REUTERS

While in the U.S. to meet with President Trump, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe spoke about North Korea’s announcement that it has stopped its nuclear weapons tests, declaring the news to be “forward motion” but warning that this does not guarantee peace in the region. “But what’s important is that this leads to complete, verifiable denuclearisation. I want to emphasize this.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was named our 2015 World Leader in Cybersecurity for his efforts to craft a cohesive Japanese cyber security strategy. You can listen to his acceptance speech here.

An Emotional AI

A Chinese tech company, Huawei, is developing artificial intelligence that they believe could read human emotions. The AI would be used in smartphone virtual assistants (think SIRI) and would upgrade them to be more emotionally interactive. Currently such technology can perform a number of helpful tasks, such as giving directions, weather updates, and even telling jokes. Huawei believes that emotional intelligence software can build upon this and make virtual assistants more responsive.

While the technology is still in development and will be used in Huawei’s own virtual assistant, it’s quite possible that you’ll be able to have a different kind of conversation with SIRI or Cortana in the near future.

The Backlash Against AI Weapons

The Pentagon has been forming new partnerships in Silicon Valley, but not everyone is on board. After it was revealed that Google was assisting the U.S. Defense Department in creating AI software for drone target recognition, in what was dubbed Project Maven, Google employees are speaking out. Thousands of them, including top engineers, have written an open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, decrying the development of AI weapons. While Google has stated that Project Maven only works on defensive systems, not offensive ones, the signatories said: “Google should not be in the business of war.

You can read the full letter here.

AIWS is against the development of AI weapons. The risks of misuse, hacking, or loss of control pose too great of a threat to society. As such, such weapons should be banned and their development prohibited. We are calling on world leaders to adopt an international treaty to ban producing or using AI weapons.

The United Kingdom Seeks a Different Kind of AI Leadership

Another country has announced its ambitions for AI leadership: The United Kingdom. Earlier this week, the House of Lords are calling for British leadership in the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Their report, titled AI in the UK: Ready, willing, and able?, states that the UK is in a “strong position” to take global leadership on AI:

“By establishing these principles, the UK can lead by example in the international community. We recommend that the Government convene a global summit of governments, academia and industry to establish international norms for the design, development, regulation and deployment of artificial intelligence.”

AIWS is also working to develop standards and ethics for artificial intelligence, which are one layer of our AIWS 7-Layer Model to Build Next Generation Democracy.

The 2018 BGF-G7 Summit Conference

This Wednesday, April 25th, Boston Global Forum will host its annual BGF-G7 Summit Conference. This year’s issue is artificial intelligence, which BGF has been working on through Artificial Intelligence World Society, a collaboration between BGF, MDI, Club de Madrid, and top AI thinkers. We will be announcing the AIWS 7-Layer Model to Build Next Generation Democracy, which we believe to be a road map to a better AI future.

This year, we will present our first ever World Leader in AI World Society Award to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria for his contributions and forward thinking regarding AI policy. In addition to the Secretary-General, we are honored to collaborate with other leaders in AI this year. Walter Laangelar, a co-creator of the world’s first AI politician, will be speaking, as will MIT Professor Max Tegmark. We are also joined by the Honorable David Alward, Consul General of Canada, which will be hosting this year’s G7 Conference.


Past accomplishments have been the Ise-Shima Norms and the Taormina Plan, both of which provided recommendations and best practices for improving cyber security worldwide. The 7-Layer Model at the core of this year’s meeting will be given to the 2018 G7 Conference in La Malbaie, Quebec..

Agenda & List of attendees of BGF-G7 Summit 2018

Click here to download the full 2018 Conference Agenda.


AIWS 7-Layer Model to Build Next Generation Democracy

At the 2018 BGF-G7 Summit Conference, scheduled Wednesday, April 25, we will be introducing our AIWS 7-Layer Model to Build Next Generation Democracy. The model is a result of collaboration between our Artificial Intelligence World Society initiative and the Club de Madrid. We are working closely with a number of leaders and AI researchers to expand this model and its applications, whether it be through a formal treaty to ban AI weapons or ethical standards for AI development. We believe that AI can help leaders make better decisions and help protect democracies from threats like authoritarianism and fake news.

See the breakdown of the model:

Artificial Intelligence World Society (AIWS) Model

Layer 7 (Application Layer)  Application and Services

Layer 6 (Public Service Layer) Public Services: Transportation, Healthcare, Education, Justice System

Layer 5 (Policy Layer) Policy, Regulation, Convention, Norms

Layer 4 (Legislation Layer) Law and Legislation

Layer 3 (Tech Layer) Technical Management, Data Governance, Algorithm accountabilty, Standards, IT Experts Management.

Layer  2 (Ethics Layer) Ethical Frameworks, Criteria, Principles

Layer 1 (Charter Layer) Charter, Concepts

A Valuable Partnership for the Future


Boston Global Forum and the Michael Dukakis Institute have been working closely with the World Leadership Alliance – Club de Madrid (WLA-CdM), a group comprised of over 100 former heads of state. WLA-CdM has been a valuable partner in creating and building Artificial Intelligence World Society. In turn, we have partnered with them on Next Generation Democracy, their initiative to collaborate and discuss emerging threats to democracy and how we can protect it.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, former President of Latvia and current President of Club de Madrid, will give an address at our upcoming BGF-G7 Summit Conference. She is a member of our Board of Thinkers, and was recognized for her dedication with a Certificate of Honor this January. We are grateful to work with President Vike-Freiberga and the Club de Madrid, and we look forward to building our new 7-Layer Model to Build Next Generation Democracy with them.

Gurria and Abe Meet to Discuss Japanese Economy and Open Trade

OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria travelled to Tokyo to meet with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe this week to discuss Japan’s economy. The OECD Economic Survey of Japan shows an improving economy and increased job growth. The Secretary-General said that “Abenomics [the popular nickname for Abe’s economic reforms] has delivered faster economic growth and job creation,” but that continued reform and growth are needed to counter Japan’s demographic and debt issues. At the same meeting, both leaders warned against protectionism and trade wars, instead stating the need for multilateral trade solutions. “Amid the spread of protectionism in the world, Japan shares with the OECD an understanding of the significance of the WTO, and we hope to reinforce the multilateral trade system,” said Abe.

Secretary-General Gurria is BGF’s 2018 World Leader in AI World Society, which will be formally announced on April 25, 2018. Prime Minister Abe was BGF’s 2015 World Leader in Cybersecurity.

Dr. Kazuo Yano Recommends “Endlessly Experimenting”

At an AIWS Round Table in Japan earlier this month, top Hitachi engineer Dr. Kazuo Yano gave the keynote speech and called for a switch from standardization to experimentation. Dr. Yano is Chief of Hitachi’s R&D Group and has worked with AI systems for nearly 15 years.

As part of his speech, he showed an AI system learning to swing, much as a human would on a swing-set. While it starts off with haphazard motions, it quickly learns to swing faster and higher faster than a human could. AI “keep experimenting,” said Dr. Yano, while humans stop after a certain point. “That’s our problem,” he said, “we must endlessly experiment and learn.” Whereas many models currently favor standardization and rigid rules, he believes that what’s needed now is diversity and testing.

Instead of replacing labor, AI really threatens to replace rules, believes Dr. Yano. The key to successful AI policy and paradigms is an “outcome-oriented” approach instead of a “rule-driven” one.

Watch Dr. Yano’s keynote speech below:


OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria to be First World Leader in AI World Society

Image: Sebastian Derungs/World Economic Forum
Boston Global Forum’s 2018 Leader in AI World Society is Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurría. This award is presented to honorees who show commendable leadership and forward-thinking in AI. This year marks the first time this award will be presented.

Secretary-General Gurría was appointed head of the OECD in 2006 and, during his tenure, the organization has given much thought to the future of AI. In 2017, he declared the OECD’s intention to work with Germany and other G20 leaders on policies for “Industry 4.0” – the digitization occurring now across a wide array of economic sectors. Last October, the OECD hosted the AI: Intelligence Machines, Smart Policies conference that invited experts from around the world to discuss the ethics, economics, and policy of AI. For these and many more initiatives, and for his proven dedication to creating the best possible future, we are honored to present Secretary-General Angel Gurria with this award.

The award will be formally announced at the 2018 BGF-G7 Summit Conference, which will take place on April 25th, 2018 from 8:30am-noon at the Harvard University Faculty Club. The theme of this year’s Conference is AI and the AIWS 7-Layer Model to Build Next Generation Democracy.

Teaching AI New Tricks

Have you ever stopped to think about how smart your dog really is? AI researchers certainly have. Scientists at the University of Washington have been training AI neural networks to analyze and even predict canine behavior. By using a GoPro and Microphone, the researchers were able to collect data and teach AI how to identify ‘walkable surfaces,’ analyze dogs’ movements, and even predict their next moves.

The idea is that dogs are capable of tasks that are outside the realm of even the most advanced AI today – guiding the disabled, searching for missing people for drugs, and more. While much of AI research is dedicated to replicating human tasks, research like this opens up a new set of possibilities. (And it also might teach us something about our furry friends).

Fixing Facebook?

The biggest tech news this week was Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the U.S. Congress. Zuckerberg was called in front of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in response to the news that Cambridge Analytica had stolen data from about 87 million Facebook users. The New York Times clocked the meetings in at a total of ten hours.

Congressional leaders hit Zuckerberg with hundreds of questions, mostly about Facebook’s data-collecting and targeted advertising practices. Reviews of the testimony have been mixed. Some point to the apparent lack of tech knowledge in Congress, with questions like one from Sen. Lindsey Graham, asking “Is Twitter the same as what you do?”; or point a finger at Zuckerberg for question-dodging answers. Either way, Facebook is now under more scrutiny than ever. After his time on Capitol Hill, the Facebook founder was called to Brussels, where the European Parliament wants to ask him similar questions.
When asked about what can be done to combat fake news spread via Facebook, Zuckerberg suggested that AI can help by flagging potential hate speech and misinformation. AIWS also believes that artificial intelligence can be a powerful tool in combating fake news. At the same time, we also believe in the responsible management of online data and encourage everyone to follow our Ethical Code of Conduct for Cyber Peace and Security.

Farms of the Future

AI is changing the way we live – and now it’s changing the way cows live, too. A Dutch company called Connecterra has created the Intelligent Dairy Farmer’s Assistant, or “Ida,” an AI-driven sensor device to help farmers keep tabs on their herds. Originally tested in Europe, the company is now introducing Ida to farms in the U.S.
Behind the sensors, which some farmers have dubbed “cow fitbits,” is a Google’s TensorFlow software. Using Ida, farmers are able to track the movement health of hundreds of cows at a time, making it easier to treat any who become ill. Some farmers remain skeptical, however, with one man telling the Washington Post he “can spot a cow across a room that don’t feel great just by looking in her eyes.” While it may not be accepted by everyone, AI like Ida could change farming.

Club de Madrid Forms New Partnership for Education

The Club de Madrid has announced a partnership with the Varkey Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving access to quality education worldwide. The partnership began this past March and is designed to bring together top educational policy makers in order to expand better, more inclusive education worldwide. According to CdM:
“The overall objective of this new area is to channel the collective knowledge of multiple stakeholders, WLA-CdM Members and experts, towards a set of policy proposals highlighting education as a tool for building inclusive and peaceful communities from a Shared Societies perspective.”
Boston Global Forum and the Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership congratulate both parties on their partnership. We also believe in the importance of global education initiatives, which is the reason MDI established the Global Citizenship Education Network.

U.N. Secretary General Urges Forward Thinking on New Technologies

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, a member of Club de Madrid, has been urging world leaders to consider the consequences of emerging technologies. In February, he called for global rules and norms to minimize the impact of cyber warfare on civilians. In a speech at the University of Lisbon, his alma mater, he said:
“I am absolutely convinced that, differently from the great battles of the past, which opened with a barrage of artillery or aerial bombardment, the next war will begin with a massive cyber attack to destroy military capacity… and paralyze basic infrastructure such as the electric networks.”
Secretary-General Guterres has also stated the importance of artificial intelligence:
“Artificial Intelligence has the potential to accelerate progress towards a dignified life, in peace and prosperity, for all people,” he said this past October. “The time has arrived for all of us – governments, industry and civil society – to consider how artificial intelligence will affect our future.”
We applaud the Secretary-General’s forward thinking – world leaders should certainly be considering the wide-ranging implications that artificial intelligence will have. Because of this, AIWS and MDI have partnered with Club de Madrid. AIWS is collaborating with CdM on their Next Generation Democracy initiative, which considers the increasing challenges democratic governments around the world are facing today.

Police Exploring AI to Identify Suspects

When considering artificial intelligence and police, most may think of Robocop. AI may be coming to a police department near you, but it will likely be a bit more subtle. Companies are developing facial recognition software for police body cameras that could allow officers to ID suspects in real time. Police would provide the AI with the suspect’s image, obtained from a mugshot, surveillance footage, or witness description. If the AI-equipped body camera finds spots someone with matching features, it would then alert officers of the suspect’s presence.
Similar technologies are already used by a number of U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the New York Police Department. Some departments are also using the technology for a broader application: predictive policing. By analyzing criminal records, geographic data, and other factors such as weather and time of day, some are touting software that could (in theory) predict crime before it happens. This too, has drawn fierce criticism from civil rights activists. There is concern that the software is inaccurate or even racially biased.
This technology is already widely adopted in China whose largest AI company, SenseTime, has developed software that allows authorities to recognize citizens and track their movements in real time. This has drawn criticism from human rights activists who think that the government is using the technology to target its critics. Meanwhile, here in the United States, privacy advocates are raising their own concerns. While this technology could be useful in fighting (or preventing) crime, it is essential that it is developed and utilized ethically, to prevent its misuse.

AIWS Roundtable Held in Japan

On April 2, AIWS hosted a Roundtable in Tokyo, Japan with top AI researchers and thinkers. Among the many topics covered were AIWS’s 7-layer model for AI, cyber security, the proliferation of fake news, and increased technological competition with China. Nobue Mita, founding representative of BGF Japan, coordinated and organized this meeting.

Involved in the discussion were:

  • Tuan Nguyen, CEO of Boston Global Forum and co-founder of AIWS
  • Nobue Mita, BGF Japan Founding Representative
  • Dr. Kazuo Yano, Chief Engineer of R&D Group, Hitachi Ltd.
  • Ambassador Shunji Yanai, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Former Japanese Ambassador the the U.S.
  • Professor Koichi Hamada, Yale University and Special Advisor to PM Shinzo Abe
  • Tsuneo Watanabe, Senior Fellow of the Sasagawa Peace Foundation
  • Waichi Sekiguchi, Nikkei Shimbun journalist
  • Shunsuki Aoki, CEO of Yukai Engineering
  • Satoshi Amagai, CEO of Mofiria Corportation
  • Kei Yamamoto, CEO of D-Ocean, Inc.
  • Masahiro Fukuhara, CEO  and founder of the Institution for a Global Society
  • Miyuki Inoue, Asahi Shinbun journalist

See the meeting’s agenda and watch the entire round table discussion below: