IGF 2023 side event unlocks insights on AI’s role in digital governance and inclusivity

At the IGF 2023 side event titled ‘IGF’s Knowledge Unlocked: AI-Driven Insights for Our Digital Future,’ key speakers delved into the evolving role of AI in shaping the digital landscape.

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At the IGF 2023 side event, ‘IGF’s Knowledge Unlocked: AI-Driven Insights for Our Digital Future,’ notable speakers shared their insights on the evolving role of AI in shaping the digital landscape.

Markus Kummer, the Executive Coordinator of the Secretariat supporting the IGF, highlighted that during the early stages of the IGF, the primary focus was on internet connectivity and access. However, with the rise of AI-driven technologies such as apps, video streaming, and smartphones, the importance of AI in shaping the digital world has grown significantly. Challenges remain in connecting the remaining billion individuals to the internet, particularly due to language and cultural diversity. Utilising AI for data mining and categorisation within the extensive IGF dataset holds the potential to yield valuable insights for shaping future policies. Kummer mentioned the Tunis Agenda, an essential document in internet governance, proposed a larger definition of the term that went beyond only managing the Domain Name System (DNS) and internet protocol resources. It accepted that Internet governance embraced various concerns surrounding internet use and misuse.

Director of DiploFoundation, Jovan Kurbalija, emphasised the need to preserve knowledge generated during IGF sessions. The DiploFoundation, in collaboration with Markus Kummer, has been documenting IGF sessions since 2006 using AI technology. This comprehensive knowledge graph is considered a public good, and there is a call for its full utilisation. The discussions also highlighted the practical aspects of AI and the potential for an AI tool to connect and compare discussions across various IGF sessions. It was proposed to develop an AI tool to connect and compare discussions across various IGF sessions. This tool would enhance knowledge sharing and coherence and assist in identifying commonalities, linking related topics, and facilitating a more comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. This innovative approach aims to enhance the effectiveness of knowledge management within the IGF.

Sorina Teleanu, DiploFoundation’s Director of Knowledge, stated that speakers at the IGF discussed the positive role of AI in society, emphasising its benefits rather than its potential to replace humans. It was stressed that AI should be approached in a practical manner, focusing on understanding how it works. There was consensus that AI is not a threat to jobs but a tool to assist humans. Concerns were raised about the underutilisation of knowledge generated at the IGF, and the potential of technology to maximise its benefits was acknowledged.

Consultant for Best Practice Forums, Wim Degezelle, noted that discussions expressed the need to improve the codification and collection of knowledge from the IGF activities. Better coordination and consolidation of similar discussions were suggested to reduce redundancy. Participants recognised the potential of AI and technology in enhancing knowledge management within the IGF. AI tools that categorise and link discussions were valuable for improving efficiency.

Anja Gengo emphasised the importance of AI as a valuable tool for managing the extensive IGF database, provided it can be trusted. AI’s capacity to process data quickly and produce accurate results has the potential to enhance the IGF’s data processing capabilities, leading to a higher level of inclusivity in its processes. Additionally, Gengo highlighted the significance of examining speech length and speed in discussions, as it provides insights into communication dynamics and can improve the effectiveness of the IGF events.

Audience members praised the IGF for its role as a platform for global collaboration and discussion. Stakeholders appreciate its influence over internet-related organisations and its ability to shape policies. The IGF’s resilience and continued success were also acknowledged, with it being regarded as a model worth emulating, leading to the establishment of similar forums worldwide and the contribution of resources from various regions, strengthening global internet governance.