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Position Statement on AI Diplomacy Report by DiploFoundation

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

Submitted by Urvashi Arora & Ritansha Lakshmi, Research Interns on the AI Diplomacy Report published by DiploFoundation with reference to the Finnish Ministry.

  • A report by the policy planning and research unit at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has highlighted the agenda on the use of artificial intelligence for the conduct of diplomacy. It focuses on the use of Artificial intelligence in implementing the foreign policy by emphasizing on current aspects and areas where the role of diplomats is completely intertwined with artificial intelligence and its impact in the field of economy, business, security, human rights, ethics etc.;

  • With an increase in the dependency of artificial intelligence on the global economy, diplomats are concerned in forming such national strategies which will benefit their countries in various aspects. We believe that national strategies must emphasis on the implementation of policies that support research, training and innovation in the sphere of artificial intelligence. It should also focus on making data publicly available for the enhancement of businesses in the area of artificial intelligence without hindering the security rights of the public;

  • We believe that the participation of each country in developing co-operation will not only help them to build a strong AI but will also pool resources for research and development;

  • We believe that the use of artificial intelligence as a tool in facilitating programs and jobs performed by diplomats can reduce the vast amount of workload on them. Soft wares like Cognitive Trade Advisor (CTA) which helps the diplomats in preparing international treatise can be a solution to various other impending tasks. We also believe that artificial intelligence shouldn’t result in the blanket blocking of access to online content and its search listings should not interfere with the reputation of others;

  • Restructuring of international relations connected with the processes of globalization and the emergence of non-state actors on the world stage challenges diplomacy to engage actively in the creation of a new world image. Any state wishing to succeed in the foreign policy arena must perfectly know and use AI in diplomacy. The more AI becomes embedded in various aspects of our lives, the more the technology introduces shifts in established areas of foreign policy and international agenda.

  • The report commissioned by the Policy Planning and Research Unit at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs focused on Mapping AI’s challenges and opportunities for the conduct of Diplomacy and highlights the impact of AI on human rights and the responsibilities of states;

  • We believe AI has impacted diplomacy in two ways: First, by offering new tools to diplomats to help them in their activities. And second, by changing the environment in which diplomacy is practised;

  • As a topic for diplomacy, AI is relevant for a broader policy agenda ranging from economy, business, and security, all the way to democracy, human rights, and ethics. As a tool for diplomacy, AI looks at how it can support the functions of diplomacy and the day-to-day tasks of diplomats. Therefore, as a factor that impacts the environment in which diplomacy is practised, AI could well turn out to be the defining technology and as such it has the potential to reshape the foundation of the international order;

  • Developing a National AI strategy is a must in order to be prepared for the impact AI will have on international relations. Economic disruption, security & autonomous weapons, and democracy & ethics are the three areas identified as priorities at the intersection of AI and foreign policy.

  • We believe that encouraging co-operation, facilitating dialogue between national and international companies, and supporting global discussions on norms and ethics related to AI are the works of diplomats who have the role of supporting the achievement of national strategies and working for the national interest.

  • The reasons for the importance of international co-operation includes the need to pool resources for R&D, the need for access to (big) data, a desire to set standards and develop an ethical framework, and a desire to build on and amplify shared norms and ethics;

  • We believe diplomats need to adapt and comfortably deal with shifts in the way existing topics are discussed due to the implications of AI. For example, the role of AI in supporting the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the benefits of the use of AI in areas, including increasing agricultural productivity, availing of health services in rural and remote areas, predicting and controlling the spread of diseases, enhancing sustainable marine ecosystems, and mitigating climate change;

  • On the other hand, diplomats also need to deal with the emergence of new, AI-related topics on the international agenda like Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) and debates about the ethics of and standard-setting for AI;

  • In an era of increasing data collection and use, privacy protection is more important than ever before. There are two narratives we see: Abandon AI completely and forget about any benefits it can deliver, or explore the solutions that can prevent possible chaos;

  • The tension between the advantages of AI technology and risks for human rights becomes most evident in the field of privacy. Privacy is a fundamental human right, essential in order to live in dignity and security. But in the digital environment, including when we use apps and social media platforms, large amounts of personal data are collected − with or without our knowledge − and can be used to profile us and produce predictions of our behaviours;

  • We believe States are the duty bearers for the protection of human rights. The role of the state is to strike a balance between freedom and protection, rights and responsibilities;

  • We believe AI should not result in the blanket blocking of access to online content, search listings should not interfere with the reputation of others and AI-enabled media have responsibilities to moderate comments which may lead to hate speech and incitement to violence;

  • We believe any state claiming a pioneering role in the development and/or reliance on new technologies like AI has special responsibility for maintaining the right balance between rights, duties, and interests of the 'netizens' across the world;

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