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Our Common AI Future

New book: ‘Our Common AI Future – A Geopolitical Analysis and Road Map, for AI Driven Sustainable Development, Science and Data Diplomacy’. Free PDF download.

Mozilla fellowship: In late 2019, DataEthics.eu partnered with the Mozilla Foundation for the Mozilla Fellowship program. A program designed to promote democracy, open markets, and free expression and ensure that the internet remains a force for good. Mozilla Fellows are activists, open-source researchers, engineers, scholars and technology policy experts who work on the front lines of that movement. Fellows develop new thinking on how to address emerging threats and challenges facing a healthy and democratic internet.

Fellow: Professor Francesco Lapenta is a senior scholar and founding director of the Institute of Future and Innovation Studies at John Cabot University in Rome. His work focuses on emerging technologies, innovation, technologies’ governance and standardization processes, impact assessment, and future scenario analysis.
His project is dedicated to identifying best practices for developing better global AI standards, legislation, and other criteria for transparent and accountable AI systems.


In his new book “Our Common AI Future”,  #MozillaFellow Francesco Lapenta creates a road map for AI-driven sustainable development as part of his fellowship embedded with @DataEthicsEU

Executive Summary

By Francesco Lapenta, 3rd November 2021

The premise of this concise but thorough book is that the future, while uncertain and open, is not arbitrary, but the result of a complex series of competing decisions, actors, and events that began in the past, have reached a certain configuration in the present, and will continue to develop into the future. These past and present conditions constitute the basis and origin of future developments that have the potential to shape into a variety of different possible, probable, undesirable or desirable future scenarios. The realisation that these future scenarios cannot be totally arbitrary gives scope to the study of the past, indispensable to fully understand the facts and actors and forces that contributed to the formation of the present, and how certain systems, or dominant models, came to be established (I). The relative openness of future scenarios gives scope to the study of what competing forces and models might exist, their early formation, actors, and initiatives (II) and how they may act as catalysts for alternative theories, models (III and IV) and actions that can influence our future and change its path (V).

“Governments should establish a set of global “Red Lines” to prohibit the development and use of AIs in specific applications that might pose an ethical or existential threat to humanity and the planet. And they should create a set of “Green Zones” for scientific diplomacy and cooperation.”

Francesco Lapenta

The analyses in the book, which are loosely divided into three phases, move from the past to the present, and begin with identifying best practices and some of the key initiatives that have attempted to achieve these global collaborative goals over the last few decades. Then, moving forward, they describe a roadmap to a possible future based on already existing and developing theories, initiatives, and tools that could underpin these global collaborative efforts in the specific areas of AI and Sustainable Development. In the Road Map for AI Driven Sustainable Development, the analyses identify and stand on the shoulders of a number of past and current global initiatives that have worked for decades to lay the groundwork for this alternative evolutionary and collaborative model. The title of this book directs, acknowledges, and encourages readers to engage with one of these pivotal efforts, the “Our Common Future” report, the Brundtland’s commission report which was published in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). Building on the report’s ambitious humanistic and socioeconomic landscape and ambitions, the analyses investigate a variety of existing and developing best practices that could lead to, or inspire, a shared scientific collaborative model for AI development. Based on the understanding that, despite political rivalry and competition, governments should collaborate on at least two fundamental issues: One, to establish a set of global “Red Lines” to prohibit the development and use of AIs in specific applications that might pose an ethical or existential threat to humanity and the planet. And two, create a set of “Green Zones” for scientific diplomacy and cooperation in order to capitalize on the opportunities that the impending AIs era may represent in confronting major collective challenges such as the health and climate crises, the energy crisis, and the sustainable development goals identified in the report and developed by other subsequent global initiatives.

This geopolitical analysis and roadmap presents a historical overview, a concepts map, and a road map for AI driven Sustainable Development based on: Shared Future Narratives. Socially Responsible Innovation. Science and Technology Diplomacy. The definition of Scientific Green Zones and Red Lines. Human Centric and Trustworthy AI Principles and Regulations. A Shared Geopolitical Strategy and Model for Sustainability and AI. An Alternative Multilateral Model for Scientific and Technological Alliances, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance Programs. Complexity and Non Linear Dynamics Theories and Systemic Thinking. Data and AI Diplomacy. Open and Sustainable Data. FAIR Data Principles and Tools. Data Stewardship, Data Trusts, and shared AI Standards. Inspired by the vision, values, and path outlined in the UN “Our Common Future” report, as well as the goals outlined in the “UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.