Home Events The Impact of AI on Diplomacy and International Relations

The Impact of AI on Diplomacy and International Relations

by Eline Chivot
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Significant advances in artificial intelligence (AI) over the past decade have led to many debates about the potential social, economic, and security impact of AI. However, little sustained attention has been paid to the impact of AI on international relations or how the technology impacts the work of diplomats and policy makers. Advances in AI have put new topics on the international agenda, challenged geostrategic relations, served as a tool for diplomats and negotiators, and created new opportunities and concerns about human rights.

Join DiploFoundation and the Center for Data Innovation to learn about key findings from the new DiploFoundation report Mapping AI’s challenges and opportunities for the conduct of diplomacy, commissioned by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and a discussion on the need for further research, capacity development and practice in the sphere of AI and international relations. Presentations and talks will be held by stakeholders from governmental organizations, the private sector, and civil society.

Date and Time:

  • Monday, January 28, 2019, from 9:00 AM to 14:30 PM


  • Avenue d’Auderghem 22-28, Brussels, Belgium (Building name: Espace Banca Monte Paschi Belgio)


  • Andrew-Tony Camilleri, Technical Attache, Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union
  • Ricardo Castanheira, Public Policy, Government & European Affairs, Permanent Representation of Portugal to the European Union
  • Eline Chivot, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Data Innovation (Moderator)
  • Arnaud Gaspart, Business Intelligence Analyst, Management Unit of the Secretary General at Belgium’s Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
  • Nicholas Hodac, Government & Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM
  • Katharina Höne, Senior Lecturer, Researcher, and, Project Manager, DiploFoundation
  • Tereza Horejsova, Project Development Director, DiploFoundation, and Executive Director at Diplo US (Moderator)
  • Jovan Kurbalija, Executive Director and Co-Lead, United Nations SG High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation
  • Philippe Lorenz, Project Lead Artificial Intelligence and Foreign Policy, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung
  • Nicolas Moës, AI Policy Researcher, The Future Society AI Initiative
  • Brian Parai, Deputy Director in the Results and Delivery Unit, Strategic Policy Branch, Global Affairs Canada
  • Nicole Reynolds, Project Manager, DiploFoundation (Moderator)
  • Richard Stirling, CEO & Co-founder, Oxford Insights
  • Michael Street, Head of Innovation & Data Science, NATO, NCI
  • Maaike Verbruggen, PhD Researcher International Security, Institute for European Studies.

Register to attend the event.

Follow @DataInnovation and join the discussion on Twitter with #datainnovation

Please note: to access the venue, exit the metro on the south side following signs to Justus Lipsius, Europa/EJC, La Renaissance. Avoid the Berlaymont and Charlemagne exits. See map.

Provisional Agenda:

9:00 – 9:30 Registration

9:30 – 9:45 Opening Remarks by Ms Sini Paukkunen, Head of Policy Planning and Research, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland

9:45 – 10:30 Report Launch and Presentation of Key Findings, Followed by Audience Q&As
The report maps out the field of AI and diplomacy through a discussion of AI as a tool for diplomatic practice, a topic for diplomatic negotiations, and an element shaping the environment in which diplomacy is practiced.

10:45 – 11:30 Panel 1: The Geostrategic Impacts of AI
This panel will explore the geo-strategic shifts AI innovations have led to, and highlight some of the most important changes that can still be expected. The panel will look at how countries are beginning to position themselves in relation to AI and explore relevant AI strategies. The panel will also discuss where Europe fits in, alongside the United States and China, and whether there should be a distinctive European approach to AI. Lastly, panelists will consider the ability of countries to harness the power of AI, and examine the concerns about a widening digital divide between developed and developing countries.

11:45 – 12:30 Panel 2: AI as a Cognitive Tool for Diplomatic Practice
A number of professions are already using AI, and the technology may become a key tool for diplomatic practice as well. Through the use of natural language processing and machine learning in particular, advances in AI can support part of the work of diplomats—for instance in the preparation of negotiations and research. How can diplomats benefit from this emerging technology, and what are the obstacles to its adoption and use?

12:45 – 13:30 Panel 3: AI, Human Rights, and Ethics in International Relations
This panel explores ethical considerations around AI. Existing and emerging initiatives, such as those by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, offer useful guidance in this debate. How can the existing robust principles of non-discrimination, ethics, and privacy inspire and be applied to existing frameworks in international relations? Panelists will discuss the key ingredients for these frameworks to effectively support the development and use of AI while addressing the human rights and ethical questions it leads to.

13:30 Concluding Remarks Followed by Lunch


DiploFoundation: Katharina E. Höne katharinah@diplomacy.edu

Center for Data Innovation: Eline Chivot echivot@datainnovation.org

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