Mozilla's tech festival in Amsterdam draws attention to safe and responsible AI

23/06/2023
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Amsterdam, 23 June 2023 - The first live edition of MozFest House in Amsterdam, organised by Mozilla, kicked off with two important events: the launch of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen's book tour and the signing of a new Amsterdam covenant for the online protection of young people. The festival hosted more than 50 sessions on the future of safe and responsible AI and a healthier internet.

Haugen, who gained notoriety for her revelations about the spread of misinformation through Facebook, set the tone for the event. In her presentation, she emphasised the power of individual action to bring about social change. She also talked about the importance of gathering like-minded people around you in the fight against misuse of technology. Her recently published book 'The Power of One: How I Found the Strength to Tell the Truth and Why I Blew the Whistle on Facebook' is a testament to this struggle.

"We must not forget to build bridges. Sometimes we think we are alone, but finding just one supporter can change that," Haugen said. According to Haugen, individuals together can hold big technology companies accountable, for instance to ensure AI is developed safely.

Amsterdam covenant 'Digital Awareness Online Environment' signed
An important covenant was also signed during the festival: "Digital Awareness Online Living Environment". This was done by Alexander Scholtes, alderman Digital City of the Municipality of Amsterdam, school group ZAAM, Digital Rights House and Samen voor Jongeren Amsterdam.

There is a growing awareness that the online world plays an increasingly important role in our daily living environment. Parties participating in the covenant have the ambition to independently and collectively stimulate digital awareness among all Amsterdam residents. The focus is on creating a safe and fun digital living environment for children, young people and young adults.

From left to right Solange Jacobsen, Jake Blok, Laya Leysner, Daan van Hooff and alderman Alexander Scholtes

Digital Rights House and the City of Amsterdam present research on citizen participation and the Algorithm Register

In addition, Digital Rights House, in collaboration with the City of Amsterdam, presented research on how to get citizens more involved in the development, adoption and roll-out of algorithms in the city. The research, now available to all, is a step forward in protecting and safeguarding our digital human rights.

Haugen's individual action, combined with the collective efforts around the covenant and the Algorithm Register reflect the power of change that MozFest celebrates and promotes. The tech festival attracted a diverse group of participants, including politicians, business leaders, artists, culture makers and concerned citizens.
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