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.
We asked 6 members of the Working Group, coming from all over the world (Pakistan, USA, Canada, India, Chile, Egypt) what are the most critical algorithmic governance issues facing the Global South. From their national perspective, they answered this fundamental question and provided insights on why policy makers, members of international organizations, civil society actors and academics should read this unprecedented report.
"[The Global South is] already behind the Global North in terms of developing policy, governance and regulatory frameworks which can guide and filter the employment of AI mechanisms in our part of the world.”
Nighat Dad, Executive Director, Digital Rights Foundation (Pakistan) and member of the independent Facebook Oversight Board
“New technologies using algorithms may be used to create new barriers and new walls between different regions around the world.”
Derya Ozkul, Senior Research Fellow, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
For the first time, the Paris Peace Forum and Initiate: Digital Rights in Society have successfully managed to gather a working group of members from diverse geographical backgrounds, with a large representation from the Global South, and from multiple academic fields to develop a common framework of values and good practices for AI governance on a global scale. Its members include:
Call for Multi-Stakeholder Mobilization for Sustainable Agricultural Development in Africa