IEEE SA at the Internet Governance Forum 2019: Moving from Principles to Practice


IEEE participated in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), 25-29 November 2019 under the theme: ‘One World. One Net. One Vision.’ in Berlin, Germany. Held annually, the IGF is a platform for leaders from academia, business, civil society, government, and the technical community coming together to constructively debate the future of Internet governance. This year, over 6,000 individuals participated in the discussions from over 161 countries, in-person and remotely.

Mina Hanna, Co-Chair of the Policy Committee of the IEEE SA Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems (A/IS), participated in the following sessions:

A key point Mina made was, “It’s time for us to create regulatory sandboxes that allow technology to advance while dealing with regulatory uncertainty in these rapidly advancing times.

Clara Neppel, Senior Director, European Business Operations, IEEE Technology Centre GmbH participated in Open Forum 13: Human Rights & AI Wrongs: Who Is Responsible? where she highlighted that standards and certification can be a part of the solution to build the informed trust necessary for Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions. Clara stated, “It is important to close the gap between legislation and technological development through a combination of social norms, standards, and self-regulation.

Alpesh Shah, Senior Director of Global Business Strategy and Intelligence, participated in the Pre-Event 18 – Children’s Rights in the Digital World – A Case for Internet Governance.

Greg Shannon, Chief Scientist for the CERT Division, Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and IEEE member, participated in discussions around strengthening the multistakeholder approach on international norms in cyberspace, and the opportunities and challenges of using AI to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (AI Readiness for SDGs). Greg noted, “Technology is essential for achieving the SDGs. A/I systems have the strong potential to drive rapid progress towards these goals in the next decade.” In Strengthening the MS Approach on International Norms in Cyberspace, Greg underlined that as a community we need to inform policymakers about why security matters, while highlighting that IEEE has been collaborating with the multistakeholder community to further that goal since 2014.

Melissa Sassi, Chair of IEEE’s Smart Village Digital Intelligence Working Groups, participated in two sessions; Achieving the SDGs in the Digital Age and Unlocking the Digital Potential of the Developing the Least Developed Countries. Melissa highlighted the importance of empowering all global citizens with the digital skills necessary to transition from technology consumers to active participants empowered by technology. She also stated the importance of creating a common definition for digital intelligence, an IEEE initiative.

Also at IGF was Edson Prestes, IEEE senior member and member of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level panel on Digital Cooperation, where he participated in Consultation on the Report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation and Business and Human Rights in Technology Project: Applying the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to digital technologies. “Discussing the application of human rights in the digital sphere is an urgent matter,” Edson said.

IEEE’s Smart Village participated in the IGF Village, highlighting its activities combining renewable energy, community-based education, and entrepreneurial opportunities in support of the world’s energy-impoverished communities.

I encourage everyone to view the IGF sessions and learn more at the IGF YouTube channel.

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