[discuss] are we dead yet? UNHLPDC

ian.peter at ianpeter.com ian.peter at ianpeter.com
Thu Jun 13 22:37:36 UTC 2019

Hi everyone,

Last discussion here about whether to close this list suggested maybe we 
should wait and see whether we want to discuss the report of the UN High 
Level Panel on Digital Co-operation (UNHLPDC).

So its out now. My initial take (basically taken from another list) is  

Any comments from your reading of the documents?

There is a good short summary at http://nissaba.net/tldr/hlpdc-report/. 
But for those who want more, the full report and also a presentation 
summary are available from https://digitalcooperation.org.

I thought the report was quite insightful in places: while predictable 
in others. It contains a number of structural recommendations to deal 
with issues which are not being addressed well by current structures: 
and also a suggested timetable to make sure they are addressed. As a UN 
Report, it has credibility: it also contains a strong commitment to 
multi stakeholder processes, while stressing that only governments can 
make binding laws in this area.

I particularly like their recommendation 3C on lethal autonomous 

  3C: We believe that autonomous intelligent systems should be designed 
in ways that enable their decisions to be explained and humans to be 
accountable for their use. Audits and certification schemes should 
monitor compliance of artificial intelligence (AI) systems with 
engineering and ethical standards, which should be developed using 
multi-stakeholder and multilateral approaches. Life and death decisions 
should not be delegated to machines. We call for enhanced digital 
cooperation with multiple stakeholders to think through the design and 
application of these standards and principles such as transparency and 
non-bias in autonomous intelligent systems in different social settings

The report also includes a number of broad structural options for 
mechanisms to deal with internet issues in the future.  These need some 
discussion as there is no clear answer here IMHO. But in this context 
their timeframe recommendation I think is very important - with multiple 
options, things like this might never be resolved unless there is a 
fixed timeframe.

5A: We recommend that, as a matter of urgency, the UN SecretaryGeneral 
facilitate an agile and open consultation process to develop updated 
mechanisms for global digital cooperation, with the options discussed in 
Chapter 4 as a starting point. We suggest an initial goal of marking the 
UN's 75th anniversary in 2020 with a “Global Commitment for Digital 
Cooperation” to enshrine shared values, principles, understandings and 
objectives for an improved global digital cooperation architecture...

I think there is potential here for some good actions in a number of 
areas, and I do hope the sort of global co-operation they envisage, and 
suggest structural options for, does develop.

Ian Peter
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