Track Session 3.1 Harnessing cutting-edge technology in philanthropic action
Track Session 3.1
Harnessing cutting-edge technology in philanthropic action
- Nathan CHAPPELL Senior Vice President, DonorSearch AI
- Robert KIRKPATRICK Senior Advisor, Milken Institute
- Chris MALONE Partner, Dalberg Advisors
- Esther WONG Managing Director of Strategic Investment, SenseTime
In this panel, we saw a spirited conversation at the intersection of philanthropy and artificial intelligence. The panellists agreed that we have completed the first age of AI, which has resulted in poor social outcomes such as the public has increasingly bifurcated opinions.
All three panellists felt that we are at the cusp of entering the second age of AI and as Mr Chris Malone, Partner of Dalberg Advisors, said, we are “at a moment of transformation”. As such, it would be important to ensure that we can leverage the future uses of AI in productive ways given that its use will be pervasive because it “is the most significant technological change since fire” per Mr Robert Kirkpatrick, Senior Advisor of Milken Institute. Mr Kirkpatrick also shared his prediction of how in the future, the only programming language needed will be a human language and not code, since AI could be used to build the programming for things.
The panel talked about how philanthropy and AI intersect in two ways. Firstly, there was an understanding that the use of AI would materially change how philanthropies and NGOs would operate and solve problems and secondly, that philanthropy had a role in defining how to use AI responsibly and with appropriate guard rails. Mr Nathan Chappell, Senior Vice President of DonorSearch AI, talked about how AI can be used to change how NGOs operate, including targeted community engagement that allows society at large to also participate in giving and not just the people who cross the threshold of minimum wealth to give.
But, like any tool, AI can also be used irresponsibly. As Mr Malone said, “We have a new hole in the ozone layer and in this analogy, the ozone layer is the policy and awareness of risks of how to use AI properly”. Mr Kirkpatrick also cautioned that AI will likely exasperate the digital divide further, creating a winner takes all dynamic for people who have access and skills to use AI.
To that end, philanthropy has a role in determining the guardrails and defining how it can be used responsibly. Panellists encouraged philanthropists to start leveraging AI even in small ways, ensuring that philanthropy as a sector does not get left behind in the AI revolution. On this note, Mr Chappell shared that “The reality with AI is that you’ll never be ready, but the freeing part is that you’ll also never be done”. Mr Kirkpatrick also highlighted how philanthropy can play a role in protecting the extinction of languages that are not supported by AI platforms and enable the formation of digital public goods that allow AI to be used by more policymakers and philanthropists (e.g., to stimulate the impact of a policy change on a digital twin city).
The moderator Ms Esther Wong, Managing Director of Strategic Investment of SenseTime ended the panel urging the audience to engage with AI with moral considerations and take onus in proper and constructive usages.