AIWS: Pioneering AI Governance and New Democracy

Apr 28, 2024News, Publications

Yasuhide Nakayama

Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia

David Lovejoy


AIWS: Pioneering AI Governance and New Democracy

Since its inception in November 2017, the Artificial Intelligence World Society (AIWS), founded by the Boston Global Forum (BGF), has been at the forefront of shaping the governance of artificial intelligence (AI) and fostering new models of democracy. Through collaborations with global leaders and top AI thinkers, AIWS has introduced innovative initiatives and frameworks aimed at harnessing AI for the betterment of society.

World Leader in AI World Society Award

Boston Global Forum annually recognizes and honors distinguished leaders for their exemplary leadership and contributions in promoting AI for a better world with the World Leader in AIWS Award starting from 2018.

BGF organizes the Conference “Governing the Future: AI, Democracy, and Humanity” on April 30, 2024, at the prestigious Harvard University Loeb House to honor Alondra Nelson, former Deputy Assistant to President Joe Biden, former Acting Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, with the 2024 World Leader in AIWS Award. This conference served as a platform to recognize Nelson’s exceptional contributions to AI governance and to explore the intersection of AI, democracy, and humanity.

The prestigious award recognizes Dr. Nelson’s outstanding contributions to shaping global public policy, the governance of artificial intelligence (AI), and our understanding of the societal dimensions of AI development and deployment.

During her tenure at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Dr. Nelson spearheaded the development of the “Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights,” which was incorporated into both President Biden’s historic executive order on artificial intelligence and enacted into policy for the federal government. In leadership at OSTP, she also provided guidance to expand taxpayer access to federally funded research, served as an inaugural member of the Biden Cancer Cabinet, strengthened evidence-based policymaking, and galvanized a multisector strategy to advance equity and excellence in STEM.

Prior recipients of the AIWS World Leader Award have included Ambassador Amandeep Singh Gill, the United Nations Envoy on Technology; Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Ambassador to the United States; Internet pioneer Vint Cerf; and Sanae Takaichi, the Japanese Minister of State for Economic Security

AIWS Contributes AI Governance to G7 Summit from 2018: Next Generation Democracy

At the BGF-G7 Summit in 2018, AIWS unveiled the groundbreaking AIWS 7-Layer Model to Build Next Generation Democracy. This model serves as a roadmap for a future where AI is leveraged to enhance creativity, innovation, tolerance, democracy, and individual rights. It emphasizes the role of AI in assisting government decision-making and empowering citizens to participate in governance.

The following year, at the AIWS-G7 Summit Initiative in 2019, held at Harvard University’s Loeb House, AIWS introduced the concept of The Next Generation Democracy – AI World Society. This initiative envisions a society where AI fosters transparency, inclusivity, and citizen engagement in governance. It comprises three key components: AI-Government, AI-Citizen, and AI Government Index, aimed at promoting accountability and efficiency in government operations.

Collaborate with Club de Madrid from 2019: the Social Contract for the AI Age and AIWS Model

In 2020, the collaboration between Club de Madrid and BGF resulted in the Policy Lab ‘Transatlantic Approaches on Digital Governance,’ where former heads of state and government, along with experts, discussed global policies for managing digital technologies and AI. The lab announced the Social Contract for the AI Age and supported AI World Society, urging world leaders to endorse and implement it. 

Continuing its efforts, Club de Madrid and BGF launched a five-year initiative in 2021 to develop a human-centered agenda for digital transformation and governance. This initiative aims to build global consensus around principles that prioritize human rights and ethical considerations in digital societies.

At the Policy Lab ‘Fundamental Rights in AI & Digital Societies’ in 2021, the Global Alliance for Digital Governance (GADG) was established, fostering collaboration between BGF and the World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid to address the ethical and legal challenges posed by AI.

In 2020, the Boston Global Forum and the Riga Conferences collaborate for platforms for discussing AI governance and societal implications. Notably, the publication of the policy brief “Social Contract for the Artificial Intelligence Age” at the Riga Conference 2020 underscored the importance of safety, security, and sustainability in the AI era.

Collaboration with the United Nations in AI Governance from 2019: Remaking the World – Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment

In 2021, the Boston Global Forum and the Riga Conference 2021 collaborated to organize a special event: “Remaking the World – The Second Age of Enlightenment – The United Nations 2045”. This discussion was a notable highlight of the Rīga Conference 2021 and was co-organized by the Latvian Transatlantic Organisation and the Boston Global Forum.

The event aimed to commemorate the United Nations Centennial initiative, launched by the Boston Global Forum (BGF) and the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) in 2019. This initiative was established as the United Nations prepared to mark its 75th anniversary in the following year, with a vision to anticipate the world and the United Nations in 2045, the year of the world organization’s centennial.

Key messages from the event highlighted the core concepts outlined in the book “Remaking the World: Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment”. These concepts include the idea of a Social Contract for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) age, a framework for an AI international accord, an ecosystem for the “AI World Society” (AIWS), and a community innovation economy. The event brought together some of the finest minds of our times to envision a future where AI is harnessed to foster global enlightenment and societal progress.

The Riga Conference 2023 published the Boston Global Forum Special Report “How to Govern AI in an Age of Global Tension” as the Policy Brief of the Riga Conference 2023.

C20-G20 Summit 2023 in India: Recognize AI World Society and the Social Contract for the AI Age

At the C20-G20 Summit in India in 2023, the recognition of the Social Contract for the AI Age and AI World Society highlighted the global significance of AI governance and the need for international cooperation.

Through its pioneering initiatives and collaborations, AIWS continues to drive conversations and actions toward a future where AI is harnessed responsibly to benefit humanity and advance democratic principles on a global scale.      

President of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen highlighted in her speech at the Boston Global Forum Conference on December 12, 2020: “It is such an honour to be here with you today. At the Boston Global Forum and Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation, you are at the forefront of research and debate. And you definitely work on some of the world’s most pressing issues. You drive the discussion on digital policy and how a human-centric approach on AI could look like. This is an issue whose importance simply cannot be overestimated.”