EU-IFE Roundtable: Protecting Democracy in the Age of AI

IFE’s Future of AI Roundtable series becomes timelier each month, and its sixth edition was no exception. EU Ambassador and IFE Diplomatic Steward of AI Stravos Lambrinidis again hosted a lively dialogue among some of the nation’s top policymakers, thinkers, and innovators in AI. Co-hosted by Coach Kathy Kemper, IFE Founder and CEO, and Dr. R. David Edelman, IFE President and Founder of the Future of AI Roundtable, this special dinner occurred at an opportune moment, as technology experts from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s landmark assembly on the future of AI — held earlier that day —  joined other luminaries from around the country at the Ambassador’s elegant residence and continued the discussion.

A centerpiece of discussion revolved around preserving and protecting democracy, especially democratic elections. The ease of content generation and rapid proliferation of misinformation made possible by AI have raised alarms worldwide. Participants voiced particular concern for the United States, where unclear responsibilities and complex political dynamics pose unique challenges in safeguarding elections from the novel threats posed by misused generative AI.

The dinner’s topics spanned from the role of AI in democracy to broader contemplations on the extent and nature of AI regulation. A recurring theme was the need to refine the discourse on AI’s challenges in today’s saturated media environment. Attendees noted the urgent need to pinpoint what truly sets AI risks apart and cataloging the immense benefits of the technology as it stands today — benefits that may reflect far narrower uses than is popularly believed.

Other key takeaways from the evening included the imminent arrival of U.S. policy actions on AI, perhaps as precursors to regulation, but presently in partnership with some of the larger companies offering products in this space. Considerable discussion was also devoted to ensuring a competitive environment for and using AI tools, with the abiding concern that smaller companies not be denied access to key resources and policy-shaping that characterized other areas of industrial evolution. The evening also highlighted the convergence of international action on AI. The potential to address preemptively these major risks offers a significant opportunity and challenge, further emphasizing the importance of such collaborative dialogues in shaping the trajectory of AI’s role in society.

The international dinner was designed and prepared by EU Chef Davide G. Martins. Chef Martins is renowned for his ability to blend different culinary traditions into a harmonious dining experience. This exceptional dinner was a testament to his skills and culinary success, featuring courses from Denmark, Italy, and France, and wines including the 2018 Joseph Cattin Pinot Blanc and 2020 Domaine la Bouissiere Vacqueyras.

SPOTTED: Ben Buchanan, Special Advisor for AI at the White House; Dr. R. David Edelman, IPRI Distinguished Fellow, MIT, IFE President, and IFE Future of AI Program founder; Sam Feist, CNN Washington Bureau Chief; Deniz Houston, Digital Policy Advisor for Delegation of the EU; Rose Jackson, Director, Democracy & Tech Initiative at Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council; Matt Kaminski, Editor-at-Large, POLITICO; Coach Kathy Kemper, IFE Founder and CEO; H.E. Stavros Lambrinidis, Delegation of the European Union and IFE Diplomatic Steward of AI; Shaun Modi, CEO, Capitol AI; Dr. Kathryn Neal, Senior Director, International Policy, Microsoft; Quentin Palfrey, Director of Federal Funds and Infrastructure, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Michael Sellitto, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Center for New America Security; Robert Skidmore, Founder & Host, Below the Line; and Dan Wagner, Founder and CEO, Civis Analytics.

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