IGF 2023 WS #186 Bottom-up AI and the right to be humanly imperfect


Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Emerging Technologies
Chat GPT, Generative AI, and Machine Learning

Organizer 1: Sorina Teleanu, DiploFoundation🔒
Organizer 2: Jovan Kurbalija, 🔒
Organizer 3: Andrijana Gavrilovic, 🔒

Speaker 1: Sorina Teleanu, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 2: Jovan Kurbalija, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Andrijana Gavrilovic, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Sorina Teleanu, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Online Moderator

Andrijana Gavrilovic, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Andrijana Gavrilovic, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Other - 60 Min
Format description: Moderated bottom-up discussion. Two moderators, no speakers.

Please note that in filling out the Speakers and Moderator sections of this form, we did not have much flexibility, as we had to (a) indicate at least 3 speakers, and (b) indicate only 1 moderator. However, the roles we envision for the session are the following: Jovan Kurbalija and Sorina Teleanu - co-moderators; Andrijana Gavrilovic - online moderator and rapporteur.

Policy Question(s)

1. What role can bottom-up AI play in advancing an inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and democratic society? And how to encourage it?
2. How (and why) to operationalise a right to be humanly imperfect and ensure that human beings remain the point of reference for the development and use of AI?

What will participants gain from attending this session? By joining this session, participants will:
- Understand the difference between top-down AI and bottom-up AI.
- Discuss why bottom-up AI is technically feasible and ethically desirable.
- Explore options for encouraging bottom-up AI, as well as barriers to its realisation.
- Unpack the idea of a right to be humanly imperfect and discuss potential modalities to operationalise it.


Will AI replace us? Are societies ready to embrace the good of AI while minimising the bad? These are just some of the questions that come up often in discussions on AI. While acknowledging the importance of such debates, we want to take the conversation a few steps forward. So we will provoke participants to explore the interplay between AI, society, and humanity from a different angle:
1. Why is bottom-up AI critical for human freedom and prosperity?
2. In this era of fast technological progress, can we preserve the right to be humanly imperfect?

Whenever we interact with AI platforms, we share glimpses of our thoughts and emotions. A new AI economy is emerging around collecting, codifying, and monetising our patterns of thinking and feeling. This also leads to new business models and monopolies. But we, humans, have ‘owned’ our thinking patterns since time immemorial; so we should also own those generated through AI. One way to ensure this is through the development of bottom-up AI, which is both technically possible and ethically desirable. Otherwise, we risk a sort of ‘knowledge slavery’ where citizens’ access to knowledge (including their own) is entirely controlled by corporate and/or government AI monopolies. Bottom-up AI is a way to return AI and technology to citizens and communities and reduce major societal risks.

And there’s more to it: The fast development of AI has made us think that we need to compete with machines. But optimisation and perfection are goals better suited for machines, while our imperfections are part of what makes us human. As we cannot win against sci-tech optimisation, we should reclaim our right to be humanly imperfect. And ensure that human beings remain the point of reference for the development and use of AI.

Expected Outcomes

We expect that the session will encourage further thinking and debates on what can be done to return AI to citizens and communities while preserving our right to human imperfection.

Hybrid Format: First and foremost, we invite IGF participants to join us for a somewhat different type of session. Let’s call it ‘Bottom-up discussions about bottom-up AI’. Everyone willing to do so will have a chance to speak, onsite and online; we will only have two moderators who will set the scene and guide the discussions. No speakers, no panellists, no prepared statements.

The session will rely on two moderators who will – throughout the entire session – pay equal attention to onsite and online participants. Online participants will be constantly encouraged to contribute their views, both by voice and by text chat. An additional experienced online moderator will engage with participants in the chat and ensure that the discussions happening there are integrated into the overall session. Moreover, onsite participants will be encouraged to log into the online participation platform and interact with the online participants as well.