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Data are at the heart of the emerging AI economy of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They are essential for training the AI systems that deliver economic value. Personal data, in particular, are exceptionally valuable in a consumer society where customization is key to commercial success. Data are also essential for using AI technology to find much-needed innovative solutions in health, education, the management of cities and the environment, and – as the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated – to helping countries and national economies in building resilience and accelerating recovery. To date, the debate around personal data has concentrated solely on protecting data privacy by putting regulatory obstacles to the use of data for deriving economic utility. By doing so, public dialogue has largely ignored issues of data ownership and more equitable ways of sharing the enormous bounty of the AI Economy among all stakeholders, including citizens as data providers.

Data Trusts are legal constructs enabled by technology that can help societies solve for the utility versus privacy dilemma, as well as introduce a new social contract between citizens and governments or private corporations. By separating the collection of data from processing and use, Data Trusts are accountable to the data providers, and can negotiate access to that data for the benefit of society as well as the economy.

This event will discuss, with the help of our panel of experts, how societies can pilot Data Trusts for public good. The conversation will consider the key elements of a Data Trust, how it can be incorporated and governed, what are the technologies that are necessary to ensure security, equity and transparency, and explore several use cases in the fields of health, smart cities, the pandemic and climate change.


Mr. Michael Ingrassia
President & General Counsel

Mr. Wally Trenholm
Chief Executive Officer
Sightline Innovation

Dr. Divya Chander
Faculty Chair, Neuroscience
Singularity University;
Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council

Moderated by

Dr. David Bray
Director, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council

Mr. George Zarkadakis
Digital Lead
Willis Towers Watson;
Nonresident Senior Fellow, GeoTech Center
Atlantic Council