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We mobilize political will around key global challenges


Digital Transformation and the Future of Democracy

Around 35 Members of World Leadership Alliance-Club de Madrid (WLA-CdM), all democratic former Heads of State and Government, will join representatives from governments, civil society, academia and tech companies in a discussion to define policy solutions that address the challenges of digital transformation and artificial intelligence (AI) in our societies.


Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of WLA-CdM and former President of Latvia, warns of the big governance challenges that the technological transformation brings along, while also acknowledging its great opportunities. With this in mind, WLA-CdM has partnered with the IE School of Global & Public Affairs in the organization of its 2019 Policy Dialogue titled ‘Digital Transformation and the Future of Democracy: How can Artificial Intelligence Drive Democratic Governance?’


“The rise of AI will change our societies in ways researchers are only beginning to examine, and democratic governments simply cannot afford to lag behind. We must govern the technological game before it governs us, not through censorship or trying to stop innovation, but by acquiring competencies and a better understanding of how AI could work for us”, says President Vike-Freiberga.


AI is set to bring about a radical transformation that will disrupt economic and social trends, raise new ethical dilemmas and change the existing balance of power between states. At a time of growing inequality and wide-spread mistrust of institutions, democracies will need to work out AI’s rollout in our societies without giving up on their foundational values. “The digital is political”, says participating tech author Jamie Susskind. Hence, only through innovative policies will democracies be able to reap the benefits of these technologies and avoid added uncertainty.


The WLA-CdM’s 2019 Policy Dialogue is expected to produce a ‘Call to Action’ at the conclusion of its deliberations on 22 October and a set of policy recommendations that will be published in the subsequent weeks. WLA-CdM Members, the sounding board of the organization’s innovative ideas, will then advocate for their implementation.


A recent survey conducted by IE’s Center for the Governance of Change found that two thirds of Europeans are worried about the speed and direction of technological progress, and more than 70% support the taxation of firms that automate jobs, as well as limiting robotization of tasks currently performed by human beings. “The digital economy has long been producing clear winners and losers. Citizens, and governments, around the world are now coming to realize the implications of this disparity and the necessity to take concrete steps”, says Manuel Muñiz, Dean of the School of Global and Public Affairs at IE University. It is, therefore, necessary to have a structured debate about the impact of emerging technologies on society and to propose solutions to the negative externalities of this process.


Club de Madrid’s Policy Dialogue

Thanks to WLA-CdM’s convening power and network, its annual Policy Dialogues provide a unique platform to inspire democratic policy change on a given topic. Former Heads of State and Government bring their individual and collective experience to the dialogue. Given their geographical and ideological diversity, collegially provide an all-encompassing voice enhanced independent experts, leaders from the private sector and representatives from civil society, all of whom actively engage in these Policy Dialogues.


Action Labs

The following sub-themes will guide the three action labs in which concrete policy recommendations will be discussed and agreed upon:

−Fundamental Rights in the Digital Era

−Data Economies and the Future of the Social Contract

−Trust and Public Debate in the Disinformation Age



The event will be held at Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid Centro Centro in Madrid (Spain). 




A glimpse of attendees

World Leadership Alliance - Club de Madrid Members



 Experts, government representatives and civil society leaders



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