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What impact will AI have on gender equality?
What impact will AI have on gender equality? | Global Stage | GZERO Media

At the current rate of progress toward gender equality, the World Economic Forum estimates it will take 131 years for women to attain parity in income, status, and leadership.

While technology is a powerful tool to help close the gender gap, it can also be weaponized. GZERO’s special presentation “Gender Equality in the Age of AI” featured candid conversations about the opportunities and threats that exist online, and how artificial intelligence will impact them.

Produced on the sidelines of the 68th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the program featured leading experts from government, technology, and philanthropy. Moderator Penny Abeywardena, former NYC Commissioner for International Affairs, was joined by Jac sm Kee, co-founder of Numun Fund; Vickie Robinson, general manager of the Microsoft Airband Initiative; Michelle Milford Morse, the United Nations Foundation’s vice president for Girls and Women Strategy; and Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová, a member of the European Parliament from Slovakia.

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How to protect elections in the age of AI
VOD - Munich 2024: Protecting Elections in the Age of AI

Half of the world’s population will have the chance to head to the polls this year in dozens of critical elections worldwide. These votes, which will shape policy and democracy for years to come, come amid light-speed development in artificial intelligence. As Eurasia Group noted in its 2024 Top Risk entitled “Ungoverned AI,” generative AI could be used by domestic and foreign actors – we’re looking at you, Russia – to impact campaigns and undermine trust in democracy.

To meet the moment, GZERO Media, on the ground at the 2024 Munich Security Conference, held a Global Stage discussion on Feb. 17 entitled “Protecting Elections in the Age of AI.” We spoke with Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft; Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media; Fiona Hill, senior fellow for the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings; Eva Maydell, an EU parliamentarian and a lead negotiator of the EU Chips Act and Artificial Intelligence Act; Kersti Kaljulaid, the former president of Estonia; with European correspondent Maria Tadeo moderating. The program also featured interviews with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece’s prime minister, and Benedikt Franke, CEO and vice-chair of the Munich Security Conference. These thought leaders and experts discussed the implications of the rapid rise of AI amid this historic election year.

The group started by delving into what Bremmer has referred to as the “Voldemort” of years surrounding elections, to look at how election interference and disinformation have evolved since 2016.

“This is the year that people have been very concerned about, but have kind of hoped that they could push off. It's not just because there are elections all over the world and trust in institutions is deteriorating, it's also because the most powerful country in the world, and it's not becoming less powerful, is also one of the most politically dysfunctional,” says Bremmer, referring to the US.

The 2024 US presidential election “is maximally distrust-laden,” says Bremmer, adding that it’s “really hard to have a free and fair election in the US that all of its population” believes is legitimate.

And the worry is that AI could complicate the landscape even further.

Hill agreed that there’s cause for concern but underscored that people should not “panic” to a point where they’re “paralyzed” and “not taking action.”

“Panic is not an option given the stakes,” says Hill, adding, “There are negative aspects of all of this, but there's also the kind of question that we have to grapple with is how when legitimate competitors or opposition movements that otherwise beleaguered decide to use AI tools, that then also has an impact.”

There’s no doubt that AI can be used for nefarious purposes. Deepfakes can fool even the most discerning eye. Disinformation has already been rampant across the internet in recent election cycles and helped sow major divisions in many countries well before AI tools — far more sophisticated than your average meme — were widely available.

“With new tools and products that use generative AI, including from a company like ours, somebody can create a very realistic video, audio, or image. Just think about the different ways it can be used. Somebody can use it and they can make a video of themself, and they can make clear in the video that this is AI generated. That is one way a political candidate, even one who is in prison can speak,” says Smith, alluding to ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent use of AI from behind bars.

Along these lines, there are many serious, valid concerns about the impact AI can have on elections and democracy more generally — particularly at a time when people are exhibiting rising levels of distrust in key institutions.

“It's very important to acknowledge a lot of the important developments that AI and emerging tech can bring to support our economic development,” says Maydell, adding, “but in the same time, especially this year, we need to be very sober about some of those threats that are in a way threatening the very fabric of our democratic societies.

As Maydell noted, this evolving new technology can be harnessed for good and bad. Can AI be used as a tool to protect candidates and the integrity of the electoral process?

A number of major tech companies, including Microsoft, signed an accord at the Munich Security Conference on Friday to help thwart and combat AI-related election interference.

“It's all about trying to put ourselves in a position, not to solve this problem completely, I don't think that's possible, but to manage this new reality in a way that will make a difference,” says Smith. The Microsoft president says the accord brings the tech sector together to preserve the authenticity of content, including by working to detect deepfakes and providing candidates with a mechanism to report any that are created about them.

“We'll work together to promote transparency and public education. This clearly is going to require a lot of work with civil society, with others around the world to help the public be ready,” says Smith.

But is enough being done?

“It's good that both politicians and the companies and society as a whole now has a better understanding where this is all leading us and we are collectively taking actions,” says Kaljulaid, but this is just a “first step” and “next steps need to follow.”

A balance will need to be found between legislating the challenges presented by AI and giving tech companies space to collaborate, innovate and address problems on their own.

“Democracy is always in jeopardy. Every generation has to answer the call to defend it,” says Smith, adding, “Now it's our turn. It's our turn as a generation of people to say that technology always changes, but democracy is a value that we hold timeless. So let's do what it takes to defend it, to preserve and promote it.”

The livestream was part of the Global Stage series, produced by GZERO in partnership with Microsoft. These discussions convene heads of state, business leaders, and technology experts from around the world for critical debate about the geopolitical and technology trends shaping our world.

How is the world tackling AI, Davos' hottest topic?
FULL VOD Global Stage WEF 2024

It’s the big topic at Davos: What the heck are we going to do about artificial intelligence? Governments just can’t seem to keep up with the pace of this ever-evolving technology—but with dozens of elections scheduled for 2024, the world has no time to lose.

GZERO and Microsoft brought together folks who are giving the subject a great deal of thought for a Global Stage event on the ground in Switzerland, including Microsoft’s Brad Smith, EU Member of Parliament Eva Maydell, the UAE’s AI Minister Omar Sultan al Olama, the UN Secretary’s special technology envoy Amandeep Singh Gill, and GZERO Founder & President Ian Bremmer, moderated by CNN’s Bianna Golodryga.

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A world of conflict: The top risks of 2024
Top Risks 2024 with Ian Bremmer, Cliff Kupchan, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, and Marietje Schaake

2024 is shaping up to be a turbulent year. The war in Ukraine is heading into a stalemate that puts the country on the road to partition. Israel's invasion of Gaza risks expanding to a region-wide war. And in the United States, the presidential election is pitting a divided country against itself with unprecedented risks for its democracy. Throw in AI growing faster than governments can keep up, China's rumbly grumbly economy, and El Nino weather, and you're starting to get the picture.

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State of the World with Ian Bremmer: December 2023
2023 State of the World with Ian Bremmer | GZERO Summit Japan


Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group and GZERO Media, delivered his landmark State of the World speech at the annual GZERO Summit Japan in Tokyo, hosted by Eurasia Group, the world’s leading geopolitical risk firm. In the speech, streamed live on GZERO’s website and on social media, Ian presented his vision for where the world is headed in 2024 and outlined the major themes and forces shaping the geopolitical landscape.

Watch the full speech in the video above and read his full remarks below.

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The global water crisis and the path to a sustainable future
High and Dry: Tackling global water stress | Sustainability Leaders Council

What would you do if you turned on the tap one day and nothing came out? By 2025, water scarcity is expected to affect about 50% of the world’s 8 billion people, and climate change is worsening the problem by changing global weather patterns.

That’s why this year’s COP28 climate summit, which kicks off Thursday in the United Arab Emirates, added water scarcity to the agenda, bringing it to the forefront of climate negotiations. In advance of the summit, the Sustainability Leaders Council - a partnership between Eurasia Group, GZERO Media, and Suntory - brought together leading experts and industry leaders to discuss the problem and possible solutions for a GZERO Live event.

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How are emerging technologies helping to shape democracy?
Embracing technology to protect democracy | GZERO Media

How do you know that what you are seeing, hearing, and reading is real?

It’s not an abstract question: Artificial intelligence technology allows anyone with an internet connection and a half-decent laptop to fabricate entirely fictitious video, audio, and text and spread it around the world in the blink of an eye.

The media may be ephemeral, but the threat to governments, journalists, corporations, and you yourself is here to stay. That’s what Julien Pain, journalist and host of Franceinfo, tried to get at during the GZERO Global Stage discussion he moderated live from the 2023 Paris Peace Forum.

In response to a poll that showed 77% of the GZERO audience felt democracies are weakening, Eléonore Caroit, vice president of the French Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, pointed out that the more alarming part is many people around the globe are sufficiently frightened to trade away democratic liberties for the purported stability of unfree governments — a trend authoritarian regimes exploit using AI.

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