Overview

The Future Society is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit think-and-do tank.

Potential economic upsides from Artificial Intelligence (AI) are huge. Capturing them however requires us to overcome daunting challenges, from trustworthy adoption of black box systems to unemployment. The Future Society is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit think-and-do tank helping society govern AI: seizing the opportunities it presents while mitigating its risks.

Our Mission is to advance the global governance of Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies. 

We leverage a global, multidisciplinary network of experts, practitioners, and institutional partners to develop Policy Research & Advisory Services, Seminars & Summits, and Educational Programs & Leadership Development.

The Future Society is independent from industry, connected to all relevant stakeholders, and we tackle a broad, but carefully selected, range of short-term and longer-term issues in AI governance. We organise our work through 3 initiatives: The AI Initiative, looking at the global aspects of AI; The Law & Society Initiative, looking at AI’s impact on legal systems; and CitX, looking at AI for urban environments. With 15 team members and 23 affiliates from over 10 countries with different professional and academic backgrounds, we form a global and diversified network of hard-working individuals. Since its creation in 2014, this team has enabled The Future Society to achieve a significant impact on the global governance of AI.

6,000

senior decision-makers engaged

24,500

citizens engaged

200

students taught

>40

institutional partners

>100

countries reached

We have managed to progress significantly on the global governance of AI. Across our public events, we have engaged over 6,000 senior decision-makers globally, be they legislators, industry representatives, academics, civil society advocates or regulators. With our various platforms, we have also engaged over 24,500 citizens. Through our education programs, we have taught 200 students and senior executives from public and private sectors about various aspects of AI governance. This would not have been possible without over 60 institutional partners, such as the World Bank, UNESCO, IEEE, OECD, Microsoft and the Future of Life Institute. As the governance of AI concerns us all, we recognise that global diversity is crucial. This is reflected not only in our team, but also in the fact that the thousands of people we have engaged with so far come from over 100 countries across 5 continents.

With this broad engagement across all levels of decision-making, we have played a significant role in the establishment of two complementary global regimes of principles for AI. The first one comes from the OECD and informs ministerial-level decision-making among its 34 member states and beyond, as it has been endorsed by the G20. The second one comes from the IEEE and its over 400,000 members in 160 countries. This set of principles aims to guide engineers and practitioners worldwide in the safe and ethical design of AI. We have also contributed to and informed the creation of six promising global governance processes: the AI Commons, the Global Data Commons, the AI for Sustainable Development Goals Center, the Council for Extended Intelligence, the International Panel on AI, and the OECD AI Observatory. We strive to do even better and to ensure that all voices are represented at this global table.

We know that the global, interdisciplinary, practice-oriented, and multistakeholder nature of AI governance demands innovative approaches. The Future Society has been established to fill this gap in the global landscape. Here is what makes us stand out.

↓ What makes us different

1 Global Reach & Network

We advance the governance of AI in a globally inclusive way. We want neglected global voices to be heard in these debates. That’s why we have engaged with thousands of decision-makers from over 100 countries; we have organized roundtables, courses, research and workshops and shared knowledge in over 22 countries on 5 continents; and our team and affiliates are spread across 13 countries.

2 Political Innovativeness

We are institutional entrepreneurs. The challenges and opportunities brought about by AI require novel governance approaches that forge a new social contract. That’s why we have supported the creation of new institutions: the AI Commons, the International Panel on AI, the IEEE EAD initiative, the Global Governance of AI Forum, the Global Data Commons, the AI for SDGs Center, the Council on Extended Intelligence, … We have done them all.

3 Independence & Trust

We are independent from multinational corporations and have earned the trust of everyone, including governments, start-ups, industry, academics and civil society. That’s why we strive for diversified sources of funding, for partnerships that safeguard intellectual honesty and for balanced panels and boards. We fight for the greater good and our transparency keeps us accountable.

4 Collective Intelligence

We know that the rise of AI is a complex phenomenon. That’s why addressing it requires bringing people together around the latest collective intelligence tools and methodologies. Through our carefully crafted and curated workshops, forums, conferences and online dialogues, we generate actionable policy options and pathways.

5 Multistakeholder Participation

We are connected to all stakeholders in the community including the industry, government, academia, international organizations, and other civil society organizations. We believe that solutions and initiatives can only be sustainable if they result from all stakeholders’ participation. That’s why we systematically engage experts, citizens and decision-makers from all sectors, demographics and political opinions.

6 Strategic Timeline

We work across time horizons. Challenges and opportunities from AI arise in the short, medium and long runs. That’s why throughout our activities, we articulate the issues strategically: we consider the implications of tomorrow’s problems for today’s decisions and vice versa. We reconcile issues of the end of the day, of the end of the month and of the end of the world.