Skip to content

Main Insight

Earlier this year, after an extensive search for The Future Society’s next Executive Director, the Board of Directors selected Nicolas Moës, former Director of EU AI Governance, to fill the role.

Leadership transition announcement

March 27, 2024

After an extensive search for The Future Society’s next Executive Director, the Board of Directors selected Nicolas Moës, former Director of EU AI Governance, to fill the role. Nicolas brings with him 5 years of senior management within the organization, including having led the organization’s research and advocacy toward the EU AI Act and Codes of Conduct for developers of general-purpose AI models. Nicolas is also involved in AI standardization and policymaking efforts as a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) SC42 and CEN-CENELEC JTC 21 committees on AI, as well as the OECD.AI Policy Observatory within the AI Incidents and Risk & Accountability Expert Groups. He holds a Master’s degree (M.Phil.) in Economics from the University of Oxford.

I am deeply honored to be entrusted with the leadership of The Future Society, and grateful to the Board, the team and Nicolas Miailhe for their confidence and enthusiasm at this prospect. At a time where, for better or worse, AI makes the news on an almost daily basis, there could be no better role for someone committed as I am to the proper governance of this technology. With developers more or less accidentally redefining many aspects of our social contract and fundamental rights, AI will be a defining technology of our age. The decisions we make toward governing AI will determine whether it strengthens or weakens society, communities, and individuals, and I look forward to navigating these important debates at the helm of TFS.

Nicolas Moës
Executive Director, The Future Society

At this juncture, we reflect on the organization’s growth under the leadership of Nico Miailhe—from its early days as a student club at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS) to a recognized independent nonprofit known to “punch above its weight” in its contributions toward many of the world’s leading AI governance initiatives.

The early days

The Future Society was launched in the fall of 2014 as a student club at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government by then-MPA students Nico Miailhe, Simon Mueller, Ionuts Lacusta, and Hugo Zylberberg. Having worked for 15 years in the aerospace industry—across India, Europe, and the US, and having started two think tanks on the governance of digital technologies on the side, Nico had come to HKS on a professional transition journey. From the outset, the club sought to create an open environment for students to apply their public administration studies of government toward discussions on the topic of AI and other emerging technologies.

Simon Mueller
Co-Founder and Treasurer of the Board, The Future Society

Nico has been a truly visionary leader—he saw the transformative potential of AI long before his peers at the time. Combine this with his deeply-rooted conviction that concerted action can steer the development of AI towards human flourishing, and you can see how TFS has become the catalyst for change that it is today.

Nicolas Moës has been part of the inner circles of European and global AI governance for years. I admire his deep expertise and incredible work ethic. He’s uniquely positioned to scale TFS’s impact in the years to come.

In 2015, Simon and Nico recognized an opportunity to expand the group beyond HKS, connecting with many Harvard and MIT research centers and alumni groups to organize events and publish research and policy memos. HKS Alumni Cyrus Hodes offered to start an “AI Initiative” to catalyze debate and work more specifically on the governance of AI. Upon graduation from Harvard in June, Nico decided to remain on campus as a fellow to build TFS into a full-fledged organization. In the summer of 2016, with Simon and Cyrus, he incorporated The Future Society as a U.S. nonprofit and took on leadership as its president.

Rooted in science and technology studies, adaptive leadership, and collective intelligence methods, the organization’s first few years involved creating an environment for international dialogue and debate, and a pragmatic agenda for the global governance of AI. The organization started cooperating with international organizations like the OECD, and governments on both sides of the Atlantic, in Asia, and the Middle East. Between 2017 and 2018, TFS led a year-long Global Civic Debate on Governing the Rise of AI, involving several thousands of individuals, both online and offline in 5 languages—a report for which was presented at the European Parliament 2018. Also in 2018, TFS organized the first edition of the Global Governance of AI Roundtable at the World Government Summit in Dubai and a US-China Tech Summit in San Francisco.

The evolution of The Future Society from its early days as a student club at the Harvard Kennedy School into a critical nonprofit voice on AI governance marks a phenomenal journey of growth and impact. It also demonstrates the drive and aspirations of a unique and multidisciplinary team, with pivotal leadership from Nico Miailhe. As Nicolas Moës steps into his new leadership role, I look forward to TFS’s ongoing contributions to a more human-centered and AI-enabled future, bolstered by a strong mission, strategic direction, and a steadfast vision for the work that lies ahead.

Vilas Dhar
President and Trustee, Patrick J. McGovern Foundation

Growth and impact

Through creating and engaging in these discursive environments, TFS team members amassed expertise in AI governance from early in the formation of the field.

Team members began to contribute more directly to these early governance initiatives by joining working groups and providing input to initiatives at standards-setting organizations, including IEEE, ISO, CEN-CENELEC, and intergovernmental organizations, including OECD, GPAI, the World Bank, and UNESCO. Over time, the team was fortunate to support several countries—Rwanda, Ghana, and Tunisia—in the development of their national AI strategies.

In 2019, TFS launched The Athens Roundtable on AI and the Rule of Law, an international, multi-stakeholder forum, which has, over five years, become one of the most well-respected convenings on AI. In the past two years, the Roundtable was held in Brussels and Washington, D.C., welcoming Members of the European Parliament, U.S. Senators and Congressmembers, as well as representatives from other governments, industry professionals, academics, and civil society leaders.

True to TFS’s roots, the Roundtable is an effort to leverage dialogue toward the biggest challenges in AI governance. Through the Roundtable’s Working Groups, we have collaborated to develop a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) for judicial operators, and manifestos on AI and the rule of law.

Nicolas Economou
Former Chief Executive, H5; Chair, AI and the Rule of Law (Volunteer), The Future Society

Nico Miailhe founded The Future Society in 2014 as a pioneering AI governance endeavor with a principled vision, strong academic and policy foundations, a thorough grasp of the risks and opportunities AI presented for humanity, and a nuanced understanding of societal and political dynamics capable of producing trustworthy institutions for its governance. Under Nico’s leadership, TFS leveraged those assets to make a substantial impact on AI policy in Europe, the US, and beyond. As TFS enters its second decade, no person is better suited to lead it than Nicolas Moës, who has been instrumental in every aspect of TFS’s culture, strategic thinking, operational implementation, and global influence. Nicolas embodies the vision and qualities that have made TFS so successful. Under his able leadership at this pivotal time in AI governance, TFS is poised to further expand its impact in every aspect of AI policy internationally, to the benefit of citizens everywhere.

In 2022, in testament to Nico Miailhe’s impact-driven leadership, TFS completed an ambitious transition toward a sharper focus on general-purpose AI systems, core elements of the AI value chain. This specialization has allowed our organization to significantly increase the depth of our independent research and advocacy work.

A sterling example of such work has been our contributions to the EU AI Act, an effort spearheaded by Nicolas Moës. Since the European Commission unveiled the draft European Union Artificial Intelligence Act in 2021, TFS has provided policy analysis and recommendations to key policymakers. In this work, we have advocated for measures that operationalize safety, fairness, accountability, and transparency in the development and deployment of AI systems.

Whenever I engage in conversation with Nicolas, I feel enriched. Nicolas’ profound expertise on very complicated and sometimes abstract topics is impressive. Yet he effortlessly manages to convey them in a tangible and relatable manner. With his drive, eloquence and always positive and constructive attitude, The Future Society is in good hands. Wishing him all the best!  

Sophie Serwir
Attaché Telecommunications and Information Society, Permanent Representation of Belgium to the EU

We’re scaling up our policy research and advocacy work outside of the EU, as well—expanding our efforts in US-focused and global governance-oriented workstreams. Over the past few months, this has included input to initiatives within the US NIST, the United Nations, and the G7.

Going forward, we plan to leverage our network of partners and our annual convening, The Athens Roundtable on AI and the Rule of Law, to further implement our research and advocacy initiatives on the national and international levels.

Looking ahead

Our team is endlessly grateful for the leadership of Nico Miailhe, who has guided The Future Society from its humble beginnings to the influential organization it is today. As Nico transitions to his new role on the Board, his vision and passion will continue to inspire us as we navigate the years ahead.

As Nicolas Moës takes the helm as Executive Director, he brings a bold vision for the future of The Future Society. Building on the organization’s foundation, Nicolas aims to expand The Future Society’s reach and impact, overseeing policy research and advocacy that advance accountability, transparency, and oversight in the development and deployment of advanced AI systems.

Dan Nechita
Head of Cabinet for Dragos Tudorache, Member of the European Parliament (Renew Europe)

Nicolas is one of Brussels’ visionaries and thought leaders in the field of Artificial Intelligence. He is unapologetically passionate about steering technological development in a direction that most benefits humanity, and he has all the right attributes – dedication, expertise, and leadership – to take TFS to new heights. Congratulations Nicolas – and TFS!

Related resources

Springtime Updates

Springtime Updates

A leadership transition, an Athens Roundtable report, and a few more big announcements!

TFS feedback reflected in historic UN General Assembly resolution on AI

TFS feedback reflected in historic UN General Assembly resolution on AI

Earlier this year, we provided feedback on a draft UN General Assembly resolution on AI. Last week, an updated resolution that reflected our feedback, co-sponsored by more than 120 Member States, was adopted by consensus.

TFS joins U.S. NIST AI Safety Institute Consortium

TFS joins U.S. NIST AI Safety Institute Consortium

TFS is collaborating with the NIST in the AI Safety Institute Consortium to establish a new measurement science that will enable the identification of proven, scalable, and interoperable measurements and methodologies to promote development of trustworthy AI and its responsible use.

Towards Effective Governance of Foundation Models and Generative AI

Towards Effective Governance of Foundation Models and Generative AI

We share highlights from the fifth edition of The Athens Roundtable on AI and the Rule of Law, and we present 8 key recommendations that emerged from discussions.

Launch event for the Journal of AI Law and Regulation (AIRe)

Launch event for the Journal of AI Law and Regulation (AIRe)

TFS is partnering with Lexxion Publisher to launch The Journal of AI Law and Regulation (AIRe), covering key legislative developments in AI governance and providing an impartial platform for discussing the role of law and regulation in managing the challenges and opportunities of AI's impact on society.

TFS provides input to UN initiatives on global AI governance

TFS provides input to UN initiatives on global AI governance

TFS contributed recommendations to two major United Nations initiatives on global governance of artificial intelligence, providing feedback on a draft UN General Assembly plenary resolution and responding to open calls for feedback on the UN AI Advisory Body's interim report.