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FFI’s Position on Artificial Intelligence

The explosion of AI capabilities this year has been truly phenomenal – all of a sudden, bots are writing convincing essays, getting high grades on the SAT and Bar exams, generating new art, solving medical mysteries, teaching themselves soccer, and writing computer code. Tech companies are racing to deploy AI everywhere and we expect to see it integrated this year into most of the apps we all use regularly. It is a force we will have to reckon with and its impact will be impossible to ignore.

It is inconceivable that the path to our North Star will be unchanged by this technological tsunami; it is not an option for us to take a wait and see attitude. AI’s potential for unintended or malicious consequences that will amplify divides and concentrate power are extraordinary; so too, we believe, is its potential to do just the opposite, but it will take ally-ship and intentionality and strategy. We cannot remain strategically relevant, nor relevant to our partners, if we are not actively wrestling with the questions and consequences of AI’s penetration in our lives and work.

Throughout FFI, we need to shift into examining how and where AI can accelerate or undermine our work to identify and equip first movers to drive change; to reframe narratives and amplify progress; to scaffold networks of changemakers and ensure information is accessible and relatable. This is not the purview of one person or one department, because AI is changing the rules of our work. This will mean building new “muscles” and habits, and will take time and financial resources.

We need to ensure our teams are fluent enough in technologies to:

  • Responsibly experiment with using AI-driven tools in our work.
  • Explore opportunities to leverage AI in our partnerships and make progress toward our north star, and push our partners to wrestle with AI’s implications in their work.
  • Understand and counteract potential negative impacts on our work, such as deepfakes or algorithmic bias.
  • Participate in larger change efforts with allies who, like FFI, are walking towards this new reality.

This will require training and education for our staff to better understand how they could harness the potential of AI, investment in new partnerships with more AI-forward organizations, and an investment in internal leadership to lead a change management strategy.

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