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IGF 2018 BPF Artifical Intelligence, Big Data & Internet of Things

A discussion about the  IGF 2018 BPF IoT, Big Data, AI


1. Welcome and Introduction to the BPF IoT, Big Data, AI

Concettina Casa (BPF Co-facilitator), Sumon A. Sabir (BPF Co-facilitator), Wim Degezelle (BPF Consultant)

BPF IoT, Big Data, AI draft output document: download / comment


2. IoT, Big Data, AI in an IG perspective: Experiences and Best practices  

Moderator:  Alex Comninos

Discussion catalysts :

  • Nobuhisa NISHIGATA (OECD)
  • Imane BELLO (Sciences Po Lecturer, Human Rights & AI)
  • Taylor BENTLEY  (ISED, Canadian Government)
  • Michael NELSON (Cloudflare)  


Introductions by catalysts  

Q&A, discussion with the audience  


3. Open Issues and Next Steps?  

Open discussion with the panel, present and online participants

Moderator:  Maarten Botterman


This discussion will focus on identifying the aspects that need to be addressed in order to get to a common understand of where we need to go. Starting point will be the current Best Practice document.


4.Summary & closing remarks

Concettina Casa (BPF Co-facilitator), Sumon A. Sabir (BPF Co-facilitator)

Remote moderator: June Parris

Emerging Technologies

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.):  Best Practices Forum

- Title: Discussion about the IGF 2018 Best Practices Forum on the Internet of Things, Big Data, and AI

- Date & Time:  Wednesday, 14 November 2018, 1150-1320

- Organizer(s): Concettina Casa (BPF Co-facilitator) and Sumon A. Sabir (BPF Co-facilitator),

- Chair/Moderator: Alex Comninos and Maarten Botterman

- Rapporteur/Notetaker: Michael R. Nelson


- Remote moderator: June Parris

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer):

  • Nobuhisa Nishigata, OECD, (male), last-minute substitute for Karine Perrine (female)
  • Imane Bello, Sciences Po, Lecturer on Human Rights & AI (female)
  • Peter Micek, Access Now (male)
  • Taylor Bentley, ISED, Canadian Government (male)
  • Michael Nelson, Cloudflare (male

- Theme (as listed here): Emerging Technologies and Cybersecurity, Trust and Privacy

- Subtheme (as listed here): Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion. [150 words or less]:  The session provided a lot of useful insights about the issues covered by the IoT+Big Data+AI report.  Recurring themes:

  1. There is a need to focus.  Rather than discuss all of artificial intelligence, focus on machine learning and how it can be used to create insights from the data generated by the Internet of Things.  The report should cover both the benefits and the risks associated with these three technologies.
  2. More than ten speakers commented on the need for applications of IoT+Big Data+AI to be trusted and “trustworthy” (and how many different steps are needed to foster trust).  These include protecting privacy and personal data, enhancing cybersecurity, being transparent about problems, respecting human rights, giving users alternatives if they find one service or application unsatisfactory, “design for safety,” and “design for diversity.”
  3. A number of speakers and members of the audience highlighted the role that education, training, and capacity-building can play in promoting new and better use of emerging technologies like IoT and AI.  

- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence.

Most of the session was devoted to conversation between the “discussion catalysts” onstage and members of the audience.  There was time for more than 15 questions and comments including at least five from remote participants. There was support for added emphasis on:  (1) Diversity and multi-stakeholder processes that could shape the development of IoT+Big Data+AI, (2) Education can help address some of the fear about emerging technologies like IoT and AI, (3) NGOs and other groups have a key role to play in working to ensure that applications of IoT+Big Data+AI are not used in ways that violate human rights, and (4) Capacity-building can help develop technical skills and improve policy-making, especially in emerging economies.  One questioner stressed the need for governments and the United Nations to do more to shape the use of the IoT and AI. Other speakers disagreed.

- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps.

During the discussion about the next version of the BPF report, several speakers suggested including more specific examples of the use of IoT+Big Data+AI, especially in areas such as healthcare, environmental protection, and infrastructure.  

A number of speakers stressed the need to provide specific ways to enhance trust in technology

- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue? [75 words] A recurring theme was the need to attract more participants (with more varied views and experiences) to the effort to draft and revise the Best Practices Forum report on Iot+Big Data+AI.  Better communications with the national and regional IGFs could help recruit talent and comments. One questioner stressed that it seemed that participants in some of the IGF 2018 sessions on AI and IoT did not know about the BPF.

- Please estimate the total number of participants:  At least 60 people

- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present:  25 people

- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion?[100 words]  During the question and answers session, several members of the audience and speakers stressed the need for diversity and inclusion in developing and deploying new technologies and in crafting policies to shape and promote them.

Session Time: 
Wednesday, 14 November, 2018 - 11:50 to 13:20
Salle XII

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411