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Navigating Digital Transformation: UNESCO’s Multi-Stakeholder Approach

Advances in technologies like AI, big data, quantum computing, Web3, and blockchain are reshaping human interaction, presenting both opportunities and challenges. At UNESCO’s General Conference High-Level Segment on November 9th, 2023, a panel focused on addressing this digital transformation. GFMD Executive Director Mira Milosevic was among the panellists discussing the impact of technology on journalism and freedom of expression, as well as possible remedies.

Author: Anne Riziki | 13. November 2023

The panel featured influential voices such as Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, Vilas Dhar, President and Trustee of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Antonio Zappulla, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Awa Busso Drame, a young academic researcher and L’Oreal Women in Sciences laureate. The discussion was moderated by Annette Young.

From left: Annette Young, Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, Vilas Dhar, President and Trustee of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Mira Milosevic, GFMD’s Exucative Director, Awa Busso Drame, L’Oreal Women in Sciences laureate and Antonio Zappulla, CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Watch the recording here:

During the session, UNESCO and its partners showcased their dedication to fostering innovative international cooperation platforms. GFMD’s Executive Director, Mira Milosevic took the opportunity to delve into the profound impact of emerging technologies on human interactions. From artificial intelligence to blockchain, these technologies have not only presented challenges but also opened unprecedented opportunities. She stressed that it plays a crucial role in championing a multi-stakeholder, inclusive, and human rights-based approach to digital transformation. Mira Milosevic also urged tech companies to actively participate.

“Tech companies need to come on board to work with different cultures, different languages, and different economic incentives. To find ways to build the ethics into the DNA of what we are building today,” she noted.

UNESCO General Conference High-Level Segment

GFMD’s Executive Director, Mira Milosevic

The overarching focus remains on reducing inequalities in the digital sphere, promoting knowledge-sharing, and open-source solutions, and bridging divides in technology, innovation, and knowledge. UNESCO’s recent release of guidelines for regulating digital platforms was mentioned emphasising the importance of collaboration and ethical integration within tech operations. The session also notably explored leveraging Artificial Intelligence as a positive force for sustainable development and peace, emphasising the implementation of the Recommendation on the Ethics of AI as a strategic imperative.

The session concluded with a comprehensive overview of progress made since the “Internet for Trust” conference in February 2023. It specifically addressed the development of guidelines to safeguard freedom of expression and ensure access to information in the governance of digital platforms. This reflective assessment aims to propel UNESCO’s ongoing efforts in navigating the dynamic landscape of digital transformation.

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