Distinguished technology and public policy expert Philip Thigo has risen to a position of global influence with his appointment to the United Nations Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence (AI). By unveiling a list of 38 highly accomplished and brilliant experts in the AI field, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres acknowledged the rapid advancements in AI technology.
The UN Advisory Body on AI is not solely a response to the rapid rise of AI; it also paves the way for the Summit of the Future. This Summit is expected to lead to the adoption of a Global Digital Compact, consolidating worldwide scientific consensus on AI risks, challenges, and its profound potential in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The United Nations Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence is a product of the Secretary-General’s 2020 Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, an initiative designed to address the surging growth of AI technologies. Its resurgence in June 2023 demonstrates the UN’s unwavering commitment to adapt to the evolving digital landscape.
Thigo, who is currently the Executive Director for Africa at the Thunderbird School for Global Management – Arizona State University’s expertise is instrumental. In his role as an Advisor and technical lead on Open Government for the Government of Kenya, he has contributed significantly to the nation’s technological advancements.
The AI advisory body course-corrects gender balance as it were, consisting of 20 women and 18 men. It is geographically diverse, representing 33 countries across all continents. Notably, the panel encompasses members from various age groups.
With the inclusion of Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence of the United Arab Emirates and the celebrated James Manyika, Senior Vice President of Google-Alphabet, President for Research, Technology and Society, to the unmissable Mira Murati, Chief Technology Officer of OpenAI, the body has AI all covered.
Speaking on the accomplishment on his LinkedIn page Thigo said, “Expressing my profound gratitude to the United Nations Secretary-General @antonioguterres for the incredible honour of appointing me to his High-Level Advisory Board on #Artificial #Intelligence, setting the stage for the Summit of the Future, where a #Global #Digital #Compact is expected to be adopted.”
Recognising the need for a participatory approach, the UN Advisory Body intends to actively engage a wide spectrum of stakeholders, ranging from governments to faith-based organisations. This inclusivity reflects the commitment to creating a safe, secure, and trusted AI future.
Its impressive diversity appreciates Thigo’s influence as extending beyond borders. Recognised as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government in 2018, he was also named among Africa’s Top #100 Most Influential African Leaders in Technology and Telecommunications in 2023. It is his multifaceted expertise that makes him a valuable addition to the body.
“I look forward to working with the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology and other appointed experts to consolidate global scientific consensus on #AI risks, challenges, and the immense potential #AI holds in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN remains the best place for multilateral governance, significantly when technology shapes the future of power and access to opportunity.”