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Data Talks

Data Talks bring together leading experts and thought leaders for dynamic discussions aimed at assisting a diverse array of stakeholders in applying data and emerging technologies effectively and ethically in their daily operations as well as in imagining new areas of use for advancing foreign policy. 

Check Data Innovation Lab's YouTube Channel. 

In 2024, over 4 billion people are eligible to vote in elections across more than 60 countries. Inspired by recent and upcoming elections, including the European Parliament elections, it’s clear that democracies are grappling with the impact of AI.

AI advancements present both opportunities and challenges. While they provide powerful tools for engagement and participation, they also pose risks. Malicious actors can manipulate public opinion, spread disinformation, and use deepfakes, eroding trust in electoral processes. 

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We gathered to reflect on the EU elections and gain insights from other contexts, emphasizing the importance of understanding AI's role in elections and the need to strengthen democratic institutions against emerging threats. By examining lessons learned and best practices, we aimed to equip ourselves to safeguard future elections.

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In this Data Talk, we explored the transformative role of Virtual Reality (VR) in diplomatic efforts, showcasing its application in immersive storytelling by the United Nations and humanitarian training simulations by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The webinar delved into how VR has reshaped international engagement, fostering deeper understanding and empathy for complex global issues such as war, peacebuilding, and the implementation of International Humanitarian Law.

In this webinar, we explored the increasing significance of data as a crucial asset, which sparked debates on digital fairness and highlighted the power dynamics inherent in data governance. The discussion provided a platform to present, discuss, and analyze how "data colonialism" operates in Africa, shedding light on the exploitation of data generated by individuals for profit by corporations and governments

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We delved into complex issues surrounding privacy, algorithmic decision-making, and data protection within the context of historical exploitations now augmented by digital capabilities. We aimed to emphasize the importance of an inclusive approach that respects diverse perspectives, including indigenous viewpoints.

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This Data Talk discussed effective data sharing within and between governments, emphasizing the transformative potential of shared data spaces in enhancing operations and policymaking. 

We highlighted the importance of robust data governance frameworks to ensure compatibility, privacy, and regulatory adherence, promoting collaboration and innovation. By strategically integrating data spaces, we aimed to improve decision-making, public services, and foster secure and efficient data cooperation at national and international levels, uncovering strategies for leveraging data to drive policy effectiveness and innovation.

As AI becomes more prevalent, ethical concerns about its development and impact are crucial. From algorithmic bias to privacy, these issues involve discrimination, transparency, and accountability. Governments and organizations worldwide have established expert groups and adopted principles to address these concerns. This webinar aimed to help practitioners navigate AI ethics and governance, emphasizing interdisciplinary collaboration and engagement with diverse stakeholders.

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Climate change is among our time's most pressing challenges, requiring concerted efforts across all sectors and the utilization of every available resource, transcending geographical boundaries and necessitating global collective action. 

In January, the Data Talk focused on the role of data and artificial intelligence (AI) in driving sustainability and climate action, aiming to leverage them for sustainable development and climate challenge mitigation. The discussion also addressed ethical dimensions and responsibilities, emphasizing the importance of aligning initiatives with environmental stewardship and climate resilience principles, with the goal of linking data use and AI deployment in governance and policymaking to promote sustainability and address climate change.

Reflecting on the year since the introduction of ChatGPT and similar generative AI tools, there's been a surge in interest and scrutiny from diverse stakeholders. Governments, taking the lead in shaping regulatory landscapes, find themselves both beneficiaries and stakeholders in the era of generative AI. 

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Our discussion aimed to anticipate advancements, navigate obstacles, and explore ethical principles guiding generative AI's evolution in government and policymaking, dedicated to aligning it with a strong ethical foundation for humanity's best interests.

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In the past, digital technologies reshaped public policies, offering opportunities in education, health, and security, yet posing challenges to sovereignty amidst the rise of data. This session explored these complexities and collaboration possibilities to bolster digital sovereignty. It aimed to share insights from actors in Africa, fostering a deeper understanding of balancing digital potential with safeguarding state sovereignty.

In March 2023, the German Federal Foreign Office launched "Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy" guidelines to promote gender equality, while data and algorithms gained importance for evidence-based decision-making. The recent Data Innovation Lab's session explored how feminist foreign policy intersects with responsible data usage and AI development, aiming for more just and inclusive societies.

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