Cross Over

How can AI, Fintech, mobility start ups, and platform economy and other digital innovations inform diplomacy?

Lecture, Workshop
7 February 2019

@ The Continuum Transfunctioner
Diplomacy Camp
Brussels

Diplomacy Lab Crossover

Diplomacy Lab Cross-Over creates an inspirational space to speculate on diplomacy applications by projecting onto diplomacy innovative digital solutions from numerous fields.

Transferring ideas from one field to another is an acknowledged innovation method. Uprooting concepts and tools from their original context and applying them elsewhere allows for outside-the-box adaptive thinking and previously unthought-of hybrid solutions. As digitalization is the common denominator that nowadays brings about major changes in almost all fields, the ‘transfer’ of digital innovation concepts could optimally promote innovative creative thinking processes.

If we stretch our vision beyond the immediate fields of application, how can AI, Fintech, mobility start-ups, platform economy and other digital innovations inform diplomacy?

How do you bridge the gap between exponential change in tech and linear growth of understanding among the public, and sow linear understanding among diplomats?

As pressing questions populate the debate on the consequences of technology for diplomacy, the Cross-Over Diplomacy Lab Workshop creates an inspirational space to speculate on possible diplomacy applications. Cross-Over Diplomacy Lab is a timely response to the need for hybrid solutions, fostering trans-disciplinary exchanges and interactions. Cross-Over Diplomacy Lab is a collaboratively creative environment, where solutions and ideas can flow from their respective fields of expertise and mutually nuance each other, towards a more comprehensive diplomacy fit for the Digital Age.

How do you bridge the gap between exponential change in tech and linear growth of understanding among the public, and sow linear understanding among diplomats?

“Since the first edition of Diplomacy Camp issues like disinformation, AI and the civic impact of digital technology have only become more contentious, particularly in Europe. With Brexit on the horizon, European elections looming, the rise of China as a technological superpower and continuing security challenges on the continent’s eastern and southern flanks, Europe’s diplomats need to grasp the opportunities and threats of digital technology now, more than ever.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands wants to bring together diplomats, businesses, NGO’s, journalists, tech experts and scientists to discuss the challenges, share practical tools and design solutions around digital diplomacy.

Fast-paced advances in technology are creating diffuse and volatile conditions in which international actors operate. Disruptive innovations such as machine learning and big data analytics are changing governments, NGOs, the media, businesses, and in some cases entire industries. New and unexpected players entering the field are putting pressure on the traditional division of roles between politics, business, journalism and civil society. And this is just the beginning: developments as artificial intelligence and blockchain technology are only just starting to have an impact.

For governments and diplomats, as well as the partners they are looking to work with, this poses a challenge. We find ourselves at a turning point that calls for new alliances between actors capable not only of responding to these changes, but capable of anticipating and embracing them. Diego Piacentini, formerly senior vice president at Amazon and the former head of the Italian government’s digital technology office, recognises this sentiment: ‘We can never permit ourselves the luxury of feeling that we have arrived: tomorrow we will always have to do better than today.’

The impact of digitalisation is clearly both positive and negative. We can use digital technology to connect people and bring them closer together, but the same technology can also be used to create division. More and more data can be gathered online, but does the data provide us with actual insight? Every day the latest news from around the world is presented to us on a plate via online platforms, but these platforms are also a platform for deliberate fake news. The result is a diffuse digital world. What are the implications of this? How can you make the most of opportunities, protect yourself against threats and avoid ‘noise’? And what challenges and opportunities can diplomats, businesses, journalists and NGOs expect in the future?”
Diplomacy Camp

Digital Diplomacy Camp @ Brussels is organised in cooperation with:
USC Center on Public Diplomacy, Hybrid Space Lab, University of Oxford, RNW Media, Diplohack

How and to what extent would AI support human decision-making, for example, in negotiations?

How can diplomacy harness and benefit by technology-based, ever evolving ways of gaining trust and interacting?

How would a technology-powered peer-to-peer diplomacy affect traditional diplomatic institutions?

What changes does diplomacy need to undergo to meet the needs of increasingly digital citizens?