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 researchers, social entrepreneurs, and managers. 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

25,500

citizens engaged

>200

students taught

>40

institutional partners

>100

countries reached

We have managed to enable and fuel reasonable progress 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 25,500 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, H5, Microsoft and The Future of Life Institute. As the governance of AI concerns us all, we recognize 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 has emerged from the OECD and informs ministerial-level decision-making among its 34 member states and beyond, as it has been endorsed by the G20. It has been complemented by an AI Policy Observatory tasked with supporting and measuring the deployment of the AI Principles into practice. The second one comes from the IEEE which gathers over 400,000 members in 160 countries. The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethically Aligned design of A/I Systems set of principles aims to guide system architects, 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 and initiatives: the “AI Commons” (and its basis, the “AI for Good” UN Global Summit in Geneva), the “Global Data Commons“, the “AI for Sustainable Development Goals Center” (AI4SDG), the “Council for Extended Intelligence” (CXI), the “Global Partnership on AI” (GPAI), and the Global Governance of AI Forum (World Government Summit in Dubai). We strive to do even better and to ensure that more underrepresented voices are brought around this global table.

We know that the global, interdisciplinary, practice-oriented, and multistakeholder nature of AI governance demands innovative strategies, approaches, tools and methodologies. 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, amplifying neglected global voices.That’s why we have engaged with thousands of decision-makers from over 100 countries; why our team and affiliates are spread across 13 countries; and why we have organized roundtables, courses, research, workshops and shared knowledge in over 22 countries on 5 continents.

2. Institutional Innovation

We are institutional entrepreneurs. The challenges and opportunities posed  by the rise of AI require novel governance approaches, architectures, and constructs to help forge new social contracts adapted to our times. That’s why we are spearheading the creation of new institutions: the AI Commons Initiative, the International Panel on AI (IPAI), the IEEE Global Initiative on the Ethics of Autonomous & Intelligent Systems, the Global Governance of AI Forum, the Global Data Commons, the AI for Sustainable Development Goals Center, the Council on Extended Intelligence, and the ForHumanity Independent Audit of Algorithms.

3. Independence & Trust

We are independent from multinational corporations. Our expertise, professionalism and commitment to advancing the global governance of AI have earned us the trust of key stakeholders in the ecosystem, from government, industry, international organizations, academia 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. As we grow our organization and our funding base, we’ll continue to improve our governance and standards of accountability.

Our latest Annual Reports and Form 990(-EZ) are available here:

Annual Report - 2018

Annual Report - 2017

Form 990-EZ - 2017

4. Collective Intelligence

We know that the rise of AI is a complex phenomenon, and that in order to address it effectively we must bring together a very diverse group of experts and practitioners 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. Omni-stakeholder Participation

We work to engage with a wide and diverse set of stakeholders in the community, drawn from the fields of industry, government, academia, international organizations, and civil society organizations. Given the systemic complexity, uncertainty, and velocity associated with the rise of AI, we believe that governance pathways, frameworks and protocols can only be sustainable if they result from the participation of a wide and deep range of stakeholders. That’s why we anchor our work in the mobilization of the latest collective intelligence methodologies & tools.

6. Strategic Timeline

To govern the rise of AI wisely and effectively, we believe it is of paramount importance to work across time horizons, and reconcile policy challenges and opportunities in the short, medium and long term. 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 seek to reconcile preoccupations of the end of the day, the end of the month, and of the end of the world.