IE University and the US Department of State launch initiative

IE University, in partnership with the US State Department, launched the Tech4Democracy Challenge, an initiative to promote technologies that reaffirm democratic systems. Through this initiative, the global university based in Spain will look for start-ups and scale-ups, and entrepreneurial projects around the world, whose technology supports democratic development.

The project is part of the Summit for Democracy, a virtual summit that brings together international leaders to analyze the challenges facing democratic systems, fight against authoritarianism, corruption and advance the protection of human rights, and which was inaugurated yesterday by United States President Joe Biden. Manuel Muñiz, Provost of IE University, will participate on Friday at the Summit for Democracy in a debate on the expansion of digital authoritarianism and the development of technologies with democratic values.

The initiative will consist of a series of startup and scaleup competitions in different world regions in 2022, to identify entrepreneurs working on the development of technologies that protect democracy. The academic institution will work with international researchers, investors and entrepreneurs to identify key innovations in areas such as data management in politics, responsibility in artificial intelligence and machine learning, the fight against disinformation, the defense of transparency and accessibility of government data and services.

IE University will develop this project through three Centers of the institution: the Center for the Governance of Change, an applied research center that works on the governance of emerging technologies; the PublicTech Lab, which works to promote the use of technology in the public sector; and the Entrepreneurship Center, which seeks to promote entrepreneurship.

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"As a global academic institution, committed to the values ​​of democracy and diversity, it is a privilege for IE UNIVERSITY to contribute to President Biden’s effort to promote technologies that consolidate democracy –explains Manuel Muñiz–. Universities and academic institutions must drive innovation that improves people’s lives. In addition, technology must respect fundamental democratic values ​​such as privacy, equality or non-discrimination, and defend rights such as freedom of expression or voting. These values ​​are shared by academic institutions as temples of higher education, the free exchange of ideas and research.".

Eric Lander, science adviser to Biden and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, urges harnessing innovation to promote technologies that cement democratic values, including privacy, freedom of expression, access to information , transparency, justice, inclusion and equity.

  "We have no guarantee that any given technology supports democratic values. It requires vigilance and constant commitment. We, the citizens, have to make sure that technology is developed and used responsibly. That is our solemn obligation", adds this adviser.

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