GENEVA, Switzerland, 13 April 2021 — The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), a Swiss foundation that serves as the first global tool for diplomacy based on the anticipation of science, today released its first activity report and announced it will hold its first annual summit for ambitious solutions based on a proprietary decision-making platform: the GESDA Breakthrough Radar.
The inaugural annual GESDA Summit will convene October 7 to 9 with an expected 300 UN officials, Nobel laureates and other representatives of the four GESDA communities – academics, diplomats, impact leaders, NGOs and the general public – at Geneva’s science hub, Campus Biotech, where GESDA is headquartered. Among the hot-button issues to be debated among participants at interactive sessions and other dialogue are:
- how to catalyze multilateralism through anticipation and action in science diplomacy;
- future global challenges for human genome engineering;
- a common future for quantum computing;
- the road to the utilization of space resources;
- co-development of advanced AI at a global scale with universal safe access;
- and future of financing and development schemes based on science advances.
At the summit, GESDA will unveil its Breakthrough Radar, a proprietary decision-making tool that assesses the impact and momentum of future scientific advances, along timeframes relevant to GESDA (five, 10 and 25 years), in four scientific frontier issues: the quantum revolution and advanced artificial intelligence (AI); human augmentation; eco-regeneration and geoengineering; as well as anticipatory science and diplomacy. The Breakthrough Radar is designed to provide an easy-to-read mapping of potential scientific breakthroughs and their possible impacts on people, society and the planet. Based on this anticipatory scientific scouting, GESDA is pushing to develop, in Geneva, solutions to address current and forthcoming global challenges, such as:
- a hybrid CERN/IAEA-like organization to guarantee safe access and use of quantum infrastructures for communication and computing, like those for strategic national and international security agendas;
- establishment of a new global court or dispute settlement body for the self-regulation of scientific disputes over ethics, privacy, the governance of science and the overall benefits to humanity of scientific progress;
- an international agreement on the co-development, access and use of advanced AI models, along with the creation of an organization to support and rule on those global governance standards;
- and a Manhattan Project-style research and development undertaking to help science and industry accelerate the decarbonization of industrial processes in the next decades.
So far, GESDA has convened about 100 prominent scientists, senior diplomats, philanthropists, heads of international organizations, university and industry executives as well as NGOs and members of the general public, as detailed in its first annual activity report covering 2019 and 2020, which includes key facts and figures on the Foundation’s progress. It produced 11 Scientific anticipatory briefs and brought together around 60 scientific experts, political and business leaders and the general public to discuss these briefs at a joint meeting of its high-level academic and diplomacy panels in December 2020. GESDA has attracted philanthropic funding to match seed funding from the Swiss federal government as well as the Canton and City of Geneva.
The first annual activity report is published after Switzerland’s federal government strengthened Geneva’s role as a digital and technology governance hub with its appointment of Ambassador Alexandre Fasel as the first special representative for science diplomacy in Geneva last February.
“What GESDA has achieved so far really has exceeded my expectations,” said Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of GESDA’s Board of Directors. “The world is experiencing breakthrough science and technological advances at an unprecedented speed. These discoveries will reshape how we view ourselves as humans, how we relate to each other in society and how we care for our environment. GESDA will play a crucial part in anticipating advances in frontier sciences to ensure we capture their potential for global well-being and inclusive development whilst safeguarding our collective welfare.”
“Breakthrough technologies such as advanced artificial intelligence, genome editing, neuro-enhancement, decarbonization and computational diplomacy are set to dominate the global agenda in the coming decades,” said Patrick Aebischer, GESDA’s Vice Chairman and former President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. “GESDA will serve as a ‘think tank’ and as a ‘do tank’ by bridging different communities while ensuring that we can make the most of these anticipated scientific advances. With the Sustainable Development Goals in sight, and forthcoming global challenges, we must ensure we are ready to put governance frameworks in place without slowing down innovation which will improve people’s lives.”
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About the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA)
The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), a Swiss Foundation and private public partnership born in 2019, was created as an anticipatory science and diplomacy tool for greater impact and multilateral effectiveness.
GESDA’s ambitious vision — using the future to build the present — reflects both the speed of scientific advances and the dynamism of the city where it is headquartered, Geneva, a global hub of multilateralism and home to the United Nations’ European headquarters and more than 2,000 other international organizations, NGOs, multinational businesses and world-class academic institutions.
Driven by a broad global community coming from all over the world, GESDA addresses three fundamental questions tackling emerging challenges:
- Who are we, as humans? What does it mean to be human in the era of robots, gene editing and augmented reality ?
- How can we all live together? What technology can be deployed to help reduce inequality, Improve well-being and foster inclusive development?
- How can we ensure the well-being of humankind and the sustainable future of our planet? How can we supply the world population with the necessary food and energy while regenerating our planet?
To this end, the Foundation’s work consists of:
- anticipating the scientific breakthroughs that will impact the world by listing what is “cooking” in and will come out of the scientific laboratories in the next five, 10 or 25 years (be it in the formal, natural or human sciences), via a global scouting system updated annually, highlighting their potential impact for people, society and the planet;
- accelerating the discussion about the opportunities offered by these scientific breakthroughs with politicians, diplomats, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, NGOs, the general public in order to design with them solutions capable of tackling current or emerging global challenges facing humanity including the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030;
- translating these solutions into concrete & cutting-edge projects by bringing together the coalitions, partners and investors necessary to implement them in collaboration with multilateral institutions, of which Geneva is the UN operational hub.