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On June 3–4, 2019, Vologda hosted Fort Ross Dialog, an international conference. Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and Rossiyskaya Gazeta co-organized the event. The conference was held with the support of Transneft, Sovcomflot, and Chevron Corporation.

On June 3­–4, 2019, Vologda hosted Fort Ross Dialog, an international conference. Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and Rossiyskaya Gazeta co-organized the event. The conference was held with the support of Transneft, Sovcomflot, and Chevron Corporation.

Russia-the US Fort Ross Dialogue conference is named after Fort Ross, a nineteenth-century Russian settlement in California, that today works as a museum and a historical park. In recent years, Fort Ross Dialogue has turned into a unique format of interaction at Track 1.5 diplomacy. In 2017, the Dialogue acquired a truly bilateral format when Pskov hosted the first conference in Russia, and in 2018 the conference was held in Veliky Novgorod.

The first day of the summit focused on scientific and business diplomacy as an effective factor of “soft power” in Russia-the US relations. The second day was devoted to two topics - the rapidly developing high-tech segment of the artificial intelligence development and the issue of managing sanctions risks.

The conference was attended by prominent Russian and American experts, businessmen and diplomats.

Opening speeches were made by: Mikhail Shvydkoy, Special Presidential Envoy of Russia for International Cultural Cooperation, RIAC Member; Sarah Sweedler, President and CEO of the Fort Ross Conservancy; Mikhail Margelov, Vice-President for International Affairs and Public Relations at «Transneft», PJSC, RIAC Member; Anthony Godfrey, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; Oleg Kuvshinnikov, Governor of the Vologda Region, etc.

The first panel discussion on scientific diplomacy was made by RIAC Members Valery Garbuzov, Director of RAS Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, and Vladimir Baranovsky, Director of RAS Center for Situational Analysis and Member of the IMEMO Board.

On the second day of the Dialogue, RIAC took part in the organization of two sessions devoted to artificial intelligence and sanctions.

The main issue on the agenda of the artificial intelligence (AI) session was the prospect for developing a "strong" AI and associated opportunities and risks. In particular, Sergey Shumsky, Director of the Science and Coordination Council, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, expressed an opinion that a “strong” AI can appear earlier than it is assumed — within 10–15 years. This can occur as a result of developing an operating system for a new generation of robots that will interact with each other and actively exchange data and learn from each other and from people (including motivations, values, ​​and morals). Session participants stressed the need to develop an international dialogue on AI and related technologies, such as lethal autonomous systems.

Sergey Karelov, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Witology; Vadim Kozyulin, Professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, Director of the Emerging Technologies and Global Security Project at PIR-Center; Sergey Shumsky, Director of the Science and Coordination Council, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology; Deborah Gordon, Executive Director of the Preventive Defense Project at Stanford University; Page Stoutland, Vice President for Scientific and Technical Affairs, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Jill Dougherty, Council on Foreign Relations and the World Affairs Council, former correspondent for CNN; and Andreas Kuehn, Senior Research Fellow at California State University in Sacramento; took part in the discussion. The session was moderated by Igor Pivovarov, Head of Organizational Committee of OpenTalks.AI Conference.

Ivan Timofeev, RIAC Director of Programs, made a speech on secondary sanctions, experience of their application, and risks to business in the session on Sanctions Risk Management: Russia-the US Expert and Business Dialogue. Adam Stulberg, Director of the Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy (CISTP) in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs; Daniel Russell, President and CEO of the U.S.-Russia Business Council (USRBC); Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program; Alexis Rodzianko, President of the American Chamber of Commerce; Sergey Afontsev, RAS Corresponding Member, RIAC Member; Alexander Shumilin, Head of Europe-Middle East Center at RAS Institute of Europe; took part in the discussion. The session was moderated by Jill Dougherty, Council on Foreign Relations and the World Affairs Council, former correspondent for CNN.

The participants of the session discussed the Russian and the US approaches and understanding of sanctions as an instrument of foreign policy, the associated risks to the sustainability of international relations between Russia and the United States.

The event was attended by Natalia Vyakhireva, RIAC Program Manager, and Nikolai Markotkin, RIAC Media and Government Relations Manager.

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