Duncan Cass-Beggs is executive director of the Global AI Risks Initiative at CIGI, focusing on developing innovative governance solutions to address current and future global issues relating to artificial intelligence (AI). Duncan has more than 25 years of experience working on domestic and international public policy issues, most recently as head of strategic foresight at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
During his six years as counsellor for strategic foresight at the OECD, Duncan led the organization’s efforts to better anticipate and prepare for future disruptions and emerging issues. This work involved leading collaborative strategic foresight initiatives to explore future scenarios and their implications in such areas as digital transformation, migration, climate change, governance and geopolitics. In 2021, Duncan and his team launched the OECD’s collaborative foresight initiative on emerging global existential risks, aiming to better inform governments and the international community on future global challenges that may require new approaches in international collaboration. A key focus of this work was on future global risks from advanced AI — work that is continuing as part of the OECD’s Expert Group on the Future of AI.
Prior to joining the OECD, Duncan worked in a variety of positions with the Government of Canada, most recently as director of strategic foresight (2013–2016) at Policy Horizons Canada. This involved leading government-wide initiatives exploring the future of various global forces of transformation, such as technological development and the rise of Asia, and their implications for Canada’s society, economy and role in the world. Previously, Duncan served as director of medium-term policy and emerging issues (2004–2013) in the Learning Policy Directorate of Employment and Social Development Canada, where his team tracked emerging trends and potential disruptions, and developed forward-looking strategies to support Canadians in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to flourish in the future economy and society. Duncan also worked in a variety of public policy areas, including organizational transformation, federalism, the social economy, homelessness, community development, persons with disabilities, international relations and international development.
Duncan completed an M.Sc. in the politics of Asia and Africa from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and earned a B.A. in economics and political science from McGill University.