Shearman & Sterling hosted a conference on “Universal Artificial Intelligence: Levelling the Playing Field” in Paris on November 15, 2019 in collaboration with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and BCG Gamma (Boston Consulting Group) at the historical Collège des Bernardins.
Yas Banifatemi (Partner and Co-Head of the International Arbitration practice, Shearman & Sterling)
conceived the program and acted as moderator throughout the conference.


The day opened with mathematician, Fields Medal winner and politician Cédric Villani, who shared reflections on the scientific, societal and political implications of AI, followed by presentations by high level representatives from the OECD and UNESCO, Karine Perset (Administrator on Digital Economy and Artificial Intelligence Policy, Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, OECD) and Moez Chakchouk (Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, UNESCO), on the work and initiatives of their respective organizations in the field of international cooperation on AI. Sylvain Duranton (BCG GAMMA Global Leader) and Magnus Magnusson (Director, Partnerships and Outreach, Social and Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO) then addressed AI and business, and AI and ethics, focusing on the human factor underlying AI.

The afternoon session showcased applications of AI in the fields of medicine (diagnosis of rare diseases by Anni Coden, Partner and Associate Director, Boston Consulting Group), education (Fengchun Miao, Chief, Unit for ICT in Education, UNESCO), critical systems (Christophe Meyer, Senior Expert, Director of Artificial Intelligence & Data Science Labs, THALES) and music (François Pachet, Director, Spotify Creator Technology Research Lab).

The day concluded with a panel dedicated to AI in law, which included discussions of the application of AI to legal data (Georges-André Silber, Lecturer, MINES ParisTech; Co-Founder, Luxia), AI transforming law (Mathieu Coulaud, Head of Legal, Microsoft France) and the modeling of the judicial decision making process (Jacques Lévy-Véhel, Research Director, Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA), Founder, Case Law Analytics) followed by a debate between Partner Emmanuel Gaillard and magistrate and writer Antoine Garapon on the distinction between legal causality and algorithmic correlation.

UNCITRAL closed the event with a presentation by UNCITRAL’s Secretary Anna Joubin-Bret on their future work on disputes in the world of high-tech.

Our warm thanks to the above exceptional speakers for sharing their knowledge and expertise and for making the conference such a success, as well as the 150+ participants.

The panels’ videos and reports are published on this website*, along with pictures of the event.

*note: reports will be published  gradually as they become available.