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Transatlantic Approaches on Digital Governance: A New Social Contract in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Press Note

16-18 September 2020


Democratic former Heads of State and Government, Members of Club de Madrid, current Government representatives, experts and renowned scholars will analyse global challenges and offer actionable policy solutions at a transatlantic and multi-stakeholder Policy Lab on the Social Contract for the AI Age, a new social contract on digital technologies and artificial intelligence


Madrid, 10 September 2020. In the midst of the current COVID-19 global health emergency, has impacted all spheres of life, humanity has turned to digital technologies and artificial intelligence to face impending challenges. From remote working to financial services and medical equipment, the extent to which we now depend on technology is increasing at a staggering rate. Hospitals are using robots to disinfect rooms, governments have become reliant on complex databases to curb the virus’ spread, and programmers have designed phone apps from which we can remotely control outbreaks. Under the present circumstances, technology seems to be an ally rather than a foe. Still, increasing concern from governments, academics and civil society that this technological transformation may be outpacing policy, must not be overlooked.

In this trying context, World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid (WLA-CdM) in partnership with the Boston Global Forum (BGF), and with the generous support of the Tram Huong Khanh Hoa Company (ATC), is organising the Policy Lab “ Transatlantic Approaches on Digital Governance: A New Social Contract in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,”. This multi-stakeholder dialogue will analyse global challenges and offer actionable policy solutions, as we consider the need to create a new social contract on digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI). By contrasting North American and European best practices and perspectives, Club de Madrid and Boston Global Forum aim to formulate policy recommendations and innovative ideas that will help shape the role of the multilateral system in digital governance and give way to a renewed agreement between society and governments on digitalisation.

To debate these challenges, this forthcoming Policy Lab will convene over 10 former democratic Heads of State and Government (all Members of Club de Madrid) Manuel Muñiz, Secretary of State for Global Spain, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain, as well as world class experts like computer scientist and father of the Internet, Vint Cerf, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, MIT Professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, Governor Michael Dukakis, Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States (1988), professors of Harvard, MIT, and top universities. Together, participants will lend their experience-based critical judgement to pioneering discussions which seek, among other priorities, to identify ways of engaging different sectors of society in grounding policymaking while protecting the democratic mandate.

Safeguarding citizen rights has become imperative since technology grants substantial power to those who control it. For instance, the technology being used to track citizen movements could potentially pose a violation of privacy rights if misused or left at the hands of non-democratic governments. New communication channels have also been contributing to the rapid spread of fake news about COVID-19, which has generated disinformation and increased confusion.

All in all, the rapid rollout of digital technologies and AI beyond the control of states poses a global challenge never seen before, which is why we should not set global, regional and national standards of digital governance without the participation of all societal actors. In this sense, debates from this Policy Lab on “The Social Contract for the AI Age”, the first social contract in the digital, Internet and AI era, a platform for connection among governments, stakeholders, and private and public institutions, and for balancing centers of power, initiated by the Boston Global Forum, will pay particular attention to insights presented by government representatives, academic institutions, think tanks, tech companies and civil society.

By comparing American and European approaches in the creation of a new social contract on digitalisation, with the foresight of former democratic presidents and prime ministers, this discussion will generate a space to encourage and strengthen transatlantic cooperation around digital governance, in the framework of much needed multilateral reforms and urgent global responses to global challenges like the COVID-19 crisis. The dialogue will also serve as a platform to establish a Transatlantic Alliance for Digital Governance and the AIWS Cityan all-digital virtual city based on the standards and norms of “the Social Contract for the AI Age”, “People Centered Economy”, “Trustworthy Economy” and “Intellectual Society”. Lastly, the policy discussion aims to discuss the creation of an initiative to monitor governments as well as companies in using AI and to generate an AI Ethics Index at all levels.


Join us in this Policy Lab “Transatlantic Approaches to Digital Governance: A New Social Contract in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” to be held between 16-18 September.


For further information visit the Policy Lab website.



World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid (WLA-CdM) is the largest assembly of political leaders working to strengthen democratic values, good governance and the well-being of citizens across the globe. As a non-profit, non-partisan, international organization, its network is composed of more than 100 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from over 70 countries, together with a global body of advisors and expert practitioners, who offer their voice and agency on a pro bono basis, to today’s political, civil society leaders and policymakers. WLA-CdM responds to a growing demand for trusted advice in addressing the challenges involved in achieving ‘democracy that delivers’, building bridges, bringing down silos and promoting dialogue for the design of better policies for all. This alliance, providing the experience, access and convening power of its Members, represents an independent effort towards sustainable development, inclusion and peace, not bound by the interest or pressures of institutions and governments.

In 2019 the WLA-CdM launched a ‘Call to Action’ to promote a democratic approach to Digital Transformation and the Future of Democracy, developed during its 2019 Annual Policy Dialogue, whereby it invites world leaders to take proactive action to frame the development of digital technologies in an inclusive, fair and rights-based legal, political and social framework.

The Boston Global Forum (BGF) is a not-for-profit think tank based in Boston, Massachusetts. Its mission is to bring together, in an open and accessible public forum, an eclectic and engaging spectrum of esteemed academic leaders, real-world experts, thought leaders, media experts and promising young leaders, who are dedicated to seeking peaceful solutions to the most contentious issues of our times. An offshoot of The Boston Global Forum, The Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation (MDI) was born in 2015. Its mission is to generate ideas, create solutions, and deploy initiatives to solve global issues, especially initiatives in Cybersecurity and AI World Society Innovation Network (AIWS-IN)

The Artificial Intelligence World Society (AIWS) is a set of values, ideas, concepts and protocols for standards and norms whose goal is to advance the peaceful development of AI to improve the quality of life for all humanity. It was conceived by the Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation (MDI) and established on November 22, 2017. Read more here.



  • Further details of WLA-CdM are available by contacting Agustina Briano, Outreach and Development Coordinator of WLA-CdM: [email protected]
  • Further details of BGF and AIWS are available by contacting Tuan Anh Nguyen, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Boston Global Forum, and Director of The Michael Dukakis Institute for Leadership and Innovation: [email protected]
  • For press credentials please contact Dick Pirozzolo: [email protected] / +16179594613
  • For press inquiries and/or interview requests of WLA-CdM Members, please reach Alejandro Hita, Communications Manager of WLA-CdM: [email protected] / +34607694354




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