Kenyan Tech Expert Philip Thigo Appointed to United Nations Artificial Intelligence Advisory


The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed technology and public policy expert Philip Thigo to a newly established high-level advisory board on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

His appointment to the Advisory Body signals the UN’s commitment to ensuring inclusivity across AI and other related fields regarding gender, age, geography, and expertise.

The advisory body will comprise of 38 members drawn from different national and regional bodies. They will be tasked with exploring how AI can be used to benefit society. 

“To foster a globally inclusive approach, the UN Secretary-General is convening a multi-stakeholder High-level Advisory Body on AI to undertake analysis and advance recommendations for the international governance of AI,” read part of the statement.

An image of United Nation’s Headquarters in New York, US

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UN

“Globally coordinated AI governance is the only way to harness AI for humanity, while addressing its risks and uncertainties, as AI-related applications, algorithms, computing capacity and expertise become more widespread internationally.”

According to Getteres, the advisory body will also set the stage for the 2024 Summit of the Future. 

The summit aims to create a global scientific consensus on AI risks, challenges, and the potential AI holds in achieving sustainable goals globally.

The Advisory body’s recommendations, due by mid-2024, will serve as a guiding tool for governments and businesses to navigate the evolving landscape of Artificial Intelligence.

Thigo, while responding to the appointment, assured his commitment to ensuring the development of a safe, secure, and trusted AI future.

“Expressing my profound gratitude to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres 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,” he stated.

“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.”

Thigo currently serves as the Executive Director for Africa at the Thunderbird School for Global Management – Arizona State University and is an Advisor for the Kenya Kwanza government.

He was recently appointed by ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo to help reform the ICT sector. 

The tech expert was also recognised among the World’s 100 Most Influential People in Digital Government in 2018 and was recently named among Africa’s Most Influential African Leaders in Technology and Telecommunications in 2023.

United Stated Secretary-General António Guterres (Left) and President William Ruto (Right) during a meeting in Nairobi on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

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