The AI Expert Mission to the Republic of Colombia, appointed by President Iván Duque, concluded its work in July 2022 after nine months of service and collaboration across disciplines and geographic boundaries. The Mission helped translate Colombia’s national AI policies into practice in targeted areas such as education and the future of work and gender.
The Mission brought together a diverse group of interdisciplinary experts from Latin America, Asia, Australia, the US, Canada, and Europe, including four scholars affiliated with BKC. Sandra Cortesi, a BKC Fellow and the Director of the Center’s Youth and Media project, led the Mission. She was joined by BKC faculty associates Malavika Jayaram and Lionel Brossi and BKC Faculty Director Urs Gasser.
The action-oriented work of the AI Expert Mission focused on a number of high-impact areas, including interventions aimed at attracting talent to develop AI technologies in Colombia; innovative multi-stakeholder models to proactively manage how AI shapes the future of work in the region; and recommendations for how AI can be leveraged to promote ecological sustainability. Colombia’s AI Expert Mission was the first of its kind in the region and one of the first to focus on the role of AI in sustainable development on a national scale.
“The AI Expert Mission is the culmination of several years of work to consolidate Colombia's AI frameworks and policies. Undoubtedly, the work of the Mission will shape the generation of public initiatives related to AI in Colombia and Latin America, due to the innovative and practical insights provided by the experts who participated,” noted Armando Guio, a Consultant to CAF (Development Bank of Latin America), a Berkman Klein Affiliate, and a key designer of the Mission.
The AI Expert Mission grew out of the BKC Policy Practice on Artificial Intelligence, a program that draws on the Center’s wealth of expertise to help government, nonprofit, and private sector organizations implement AI best practices and turn AI principles into effective policies. Through the Policy Practice, BKC has worked with the governments of Germany and Thailand as well as small and large private sector organizations across the world.
“It’s been a worthy challenge to turn key insights from our Ethics and Governance of AI program at BKC into real-word, on-the-ground initiatives in Colombia on such an ambitious timeline,” said Sandra Cortesi, the Director of the AI Expert Mission.
Though the AI Expert Mission is coming to a close, it has launched products and initiatives that will continue to lay the groundwork for Colombia to navigate the development of AI in the country to the benefit of all its citizens:
The Mission incubated a national AI Policy Lab that will bring together a class of fellows and a network of collaborators from industry and academia to address issues related to AI and the future of work and gender.
Members of the Mission, in collaboration with international experts and with support from the World Bank, have worked on an actionable roadmap to leverage AI for environmental sustainability in Colombia.
The Mission launched a bilingual platform of educational tools in both English and Spanish to equip Colombian people with the AI skills and knowledge they need to thrive.
“It’s quite remarkable to have the first open digital platform that will serve to educate and empower people in Colombia and beyond on the opportunities and challenges AI can bring to society, from a plural and inclusive perspective,” added Lionel Brossi, a Berkman Klein Faculty Associate and participant in the Mission.
The work of the AI Expert Mission was supported by the Interamerican Development Bank, The Development Bank of Latin America, and the World Bank. It represents an innovative model for engaging AI experts from the Berkman Klein Center and other institutions to help governments and organizations turn AI policies and frameworks into action.