Policy initiative
Ensuring trust and safety in the digital world

Initiate: Digital Rights in Society

Policy initiative

Initiate: Digital Rights in Society is a North-South multi-stakeholder initiative incubated by the Paris Peace Forum that aims to define common standards for the use of automated technologies in all jurisdictions, to pave the way for a Digital Bill of Rights.



Algorithmic decision-making holds the potential to greatly benefit society, accomplishing complex tasks efficiently and inexpensively. Algorithms can be used to help make societies more just and equitable, enabling widespread access to vital services and new conveniences. At the same time, AI tools have been critiqued for their potential to reinforce existing social and economic structures and social biases – possibly exacerbating divisions within society and power imbalances between governments, corporations, and the public, particularly across the Global South-North divide.

Initiate: Digital Rights in Society process outlines and examines the most important areas of convergence and divergence between the communities of the Global South and North in their experience of and regulatory approaches surrounding algorithmic governance. Its intended audience is not limited to policymakers – South and North, and at the international level – but critically includes academic researchers, advocates, technologists, and the broader public. Its central work involves informing and advocating for an international digital rights framework the prioritizes the interests of civil society, particularly across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.


Beyond the North-South Fork on the Road to AI Governance: An Action Plan

Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the world faster than the world can mitigate intensifying geopolitical divisions and socio-economic disparities. As technological change outpaces regulatory policy, no common framework has yet emerged to coordinate the numerous governance approaches across multiple national contexts. The concerns and interests of the citizens and civil society of the Global South in particular must be prioritized to reverse increasing fragmentation in the governance of algorithmic platforms and AI-powered systems worldwide.

Societies in the Global South are entitled to both equitable economic benefits and meaningful protections from powerful platforms and tools largely controlled by corporations based in the Global North. This equity must be predicated upon what we define as an "AI constitutionalism", that approaches AI and big data as fundamental resources within the modern economy.

Informed by discussions within a multidisciplinary and international working group - with a strong representation from the Global South - composed of 21 experts assembled by Initiate: Digital Rights in Society and the Paris Peace Forum, this paper proposes that AI constitutionalism and a rights-based approach should guide the development of high-level international protocols and conventions that will set policymaking standards for AI’s development and deployment, worldwide. It recommends 4 key actions to work toward a less fragmented AI policy landscape that incorporates the interests and concerns of Global South countries.

Read the report



Societal Dilemmas in an AI-Embedded World

A few years from now, would you put your life in the hands of artificial intelligence (AI)? The rapid dissemination of AI will present us will increasingly challenging technology-related dilemmas in our everyday lives.

To great public effect, MIT’s Moral Machine experiment assessed how machines should make moral decisions. As a joint project of Initiate: Digital Rights in Society, ARTificial Mind, and the Paris Peace Forum, Human in the Loop takes this type of experience a step further. It offers an immersive artistic simulation of the societal and policy challenges presented by living with AI.

Human in the Loop is an experimental online platform that enables visitors to explore such societal challenges through a “hands-on” immersive experience spread over eight interactive levels. It features a series of challenging cases and poses choices that help you to imagine a world infused with AI.

Its eight levels engage topics in health, education, relationships and sex, personal finance, law enforcement and jurisprudence, international security, economic development, and resource challenges compounded by global warming.

Interact with the Human in the Loop demo, which includes one of eight interactive levels, and see if you’re ready for the future.

Discover Human in the Loop