Bellagio Bulletin

Bellagio Bulletin: August 2023

Welcome to a special edition of the Bellagio Bulletin, where you’ll have a chance to hear from leading voices within the alumni network on one of the greatest global challenges of our time – the ethical application and governance of artificial intelligence. We hope you’ll find their points of view as illuminating as we have in a moment when AI is top of mind for many across sectors, issue areas, and geographies.

The lineup includes conversations with Ronaldo Lemos, who explains why we must prevent the Global North’s AI use from negatively impacting the development of the Global South; anthropologist and author Mary Gray, whose latest book tackles the issue of democratizing the power of AI globally; author Tim O’Reilly, who explores the links between AI and the attention economy; and so many more revolutionary thinkers. In this time marked by increasing polarization and conflict, we are also excited to bring you stories of network members who leaned into the Bellagio Center as a place for bridging across difference. You’ll hear from Israeli human rights attorney Sharon Shenhav about her unlikely collaboration with an Iranian ayatollah, and from Glenn Schweitzer about his role brokering scientific collaboration between the U.S. and Russia during the Cold War.

A Note from Zia Khan, Senior Vice President of Innovation

In October of 2019, we gathered an exceptional group of thinkers in Bellagio to explore how artificial intelligence, or AI, could “create a better future for humanity.” Little did we know that we would have to close Bellagio soon after as Covid-19 spread around  the world, creating a cascading series of crises that wiped out the status quo and opened the field for new ideas, solutions, and paradigms.

Just as Covid-19 was fading in late 2022, AI gripped the world’s attention with the release of widely accessible tools like ChatGPT. We’re now on a transformative path to an unclear destination. This is why The Rockefeller Foundation is redoubling its efforts around AI to ensure we all harness AI to create a better future for humanity, particularly when that future lies in the growing shadow of climate change.

Fortunately, we can build on the ideas, projects, and coalitions of pioneering organizations and individuals who have worked on AI and related issues at the Bellagio Center. In this latest edition of the Bellagio Bulletin, we’re excited to feature unique perspectives and projects across the fields of philanthropy, law and policy, healthcare, the arts, and more.

Bellagio Announcements

  • A Thank You and
    Farewell to Pilar Palaciá

    Few people have had as lasting an impact on The Bellagio Center as Pilar Palaciá, its Vice President since 2005 and a crucial part of the Bellagio experience for thousands of people. Her retirement is bittersweet. We’re incredibly grateful for her unwavering dedication to the Center over the last 20 years, including establishing residencies and convenings as two of the Foundation’s most valued programs. Pilar will be succeeded by Elena Gelosa, joining from Bocconi University in September.
  • New York City Convening Space

    The Rockefeller Foundation recently opened a convening center at its New York City headquarters. We were thrilled to host Bellagio residency alum Latanya Mapp Frett for a book talk on her recently published Bellagio project, The Everyday Feminist, and look forward to welcoming Katie Redford to discuss The Revolution Will Not be Litigated on September 6. We'll be in touch soon with more information on virtual and in person opportunities to join the Connect Series.

Conversations on AI

After Bellagio

From the Archives

Bellagio Library

In the News

  • Hernan Diaz wins a Pulitzer Prize

    2022 resident Hernan Diaz has won the Pulitzer Prize for his second novel, Trust, after already winning the 2022 Kirkus Prize and being longlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. Described by the judges as, “A riveting novel set in a bygone America that explores family, wealth, and ambition,” it has also been included in lists of the best books of 2022 by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Vogue, Time, and more.
  • Stephanie Dinkins wins the inaugural LG Guggenheim Award

    The winner of the inaugural LG Guggenheim Award – which celebrates artists who work at the intersection of art and technology – is September 2022 resident Stephanie Dinkins. Her artistic experiments with chatbots, augmented reality, and virtual reality were lauded by the judges for their “steadfast focus on family structures, oral histories, and small data. By enacting change locally, her works claim, we can envision new technological ecosystems at a global scale.”
  • Giaoconda Belli wins Reina Sofia Ibero-American Poetry Prize

    Nicaraguan poet and novelist Giaoconda Belli has won the Reina Sofia Ibero-American Poetry Prize. One of the most prominent critics of the current Nicaraguan government, with a body of globally celebrated work going back nearly 50 years, Belli currently lives in exile in Spain. In 2015, she was a resident at Bellagio, where she began drafting The Cloud Forest, an upcoming historical novel set in 19th-century Nicaragua.
  • Joseph Stiglitz in Scientific American

    Nobel prize-winning economist and Bellagio alum Joseph Stiglitz gave an interview in Scientific American on how AI will accelerate societal inequality - and what solutions might prevent that outcome.

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