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Opening Remarks of Professor Thomas Patterson at Global Cybersecurity Day “Framework for Global Law and Accord on AI and Digital”

Boston, December 12, 2021


I’m Tom Patterson, co-founder of the Boston Global Forum.

It was on this day nine years ago that Mike DukakisJohn QuelchNguyen Anh Tuan, and I founded the Boston Global Forum. Every year since then, we’ve marked December 12th with a conference and a new initiative.

The 2015 conference, for example, marked the announcement and creation of Global Cybersecurity Day, a conference at which we recognized and honored Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and in the 2016 conference we recognized and honored UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

And December 12th is when we present our annual World Leader for Peace and Security Award. This year’s recipient is Andreas Norlen, Speaker of Sweden’s Riksdag – that nation’s national Parliament. Speaker Norlen is with us today.

Before introducing Boston Global Forum’s chairman, Mike Dukakis, I want to say a few words about some things that the Boston Global Forum has done during the past year.

We’ve been working closely with the Club de Madrid, which is the organization whose members are former presidents and prime ministers of democratic nations. Across several conferences, we’ve been looking at the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital revolution, and particularly by Artificial Intelligence.

Together, we’ve promoted the need for a new social contract, one that can advance AI’s potential for good while mitigating the threats that it poses. A social contract that would, for example, protect the right of individuals to their privacy and from exploitation by those who would use their personal data to manipulate their consumer or political choices. A social contract that would also prohibit governments from using AI as a tool for repressing dissent. The social contract would extend beyond what’s prohibited to what must be done to empower ordinary citizens, such as guarantees of digital literacy and access.

The agenda for today’s discussion is an extension of that work – the need for an International Accord on the use of AI and Digital.

The past year has also been marked by publication of the book, “Remaking the World: Toward an Age of Global Enlightenment.”

Edited by the Boston Global Forum’s CEO, Nguyen Anh Tuan, and including chapters by more than two dozen prominent leaders and thinkers, it was developed in collaboration with Ramu Damodaran, founding director of the United Nations Academic Impact Program.

The book is a visionary look forward to the year 2045, the centennial of the United Nations, and asks what must be done between now and then to fulfill the UN’s founding vision.

In a conference this past Thursday, the leaders of Vietnam’s Khánh Hòa Province pledged to implement many of the programs contained in the book, in order to create a model that can be emulated by governments elsewhere.

Finally, I’d like to give a special word of thanks to Tuan, who as those associated with this organization know, is its driving force.

Tuan is our organizer, our networker, and our leading thinker. Many of the initiatives that have marked the Boston Global Forum’s work these past nine years have come from the mind and dedication of Tuan. And most of you who are with us today were brought into the Boston Global Forum by Tuan’s efforts.

On behalf of everyone here, Tuan, I want to thank you for all that you do for the Boston Global Forum.

Let me now hand the floor over to Michael Dukakis, Boston Global Forum’s chairman. Mike has been part of the Boston Global Forum since its founding and has guided not only our December 12th conferences but the others that we hold each year.

Mike was three times elected as governor of Massachusetts, was the 1988 Democratic Party presidential nominee, and is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Northeastern University.

Mike, the floor is yours.