Graduate Story: Andrew Hyde '81, The Stimson Center

Andrew Hyde '81

Dickinson majors: Economics, international studies and political science

Current role: Senior Fellow & director, The Stimson Center


Metzger-Conway Fellow Andrew Hyde ’81 has pioneered the use of pre-AI and AI technologies in diplomacy and national and global policy; he’s also a leading voice in diplomacy, policy and national security as well as governance more generally.

On retiring from a distinguished career at the U.S. Department of State, Hyde accepted a position as a senior fellow for the D.C. think tank the Stimson Center. Over the past decade, he's advised key stakeholders, including the United Nations and Interpol, on the implications of AI developments on their work.

The AI-diplomacy connection

Hyde began his postgraduation life as a Congressional staffer, then shifted into foreign service. His work at U.S. embassies, at the European Commission, as deputy political counselor at the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and as NATO’s deputy Senior Civilian in Kabul marked his stellar career at the U.S. Department of State.

Serving in State Department leadership positions—including as partnership manager of the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations and as director of regional policy for the Bureau of International Organizations—Hyde was involved with negotiations on trade issues related to technology and led efforts to use emerging technologies to better understand international behaviors and attitudes. This included an AI-assisted analysis of global voting patterns and data-analysis efforts for the United Nations.

“As a diplomat, you need to go through a tremendous amount of information and faithfully and accurately report on it. AI can help us get a better and quicker understanding of what the data can tell us,” Hyde explains. “AI also can be helpful in communicating our values, goals and intentions, which is critically important, and in spotting opportunities to do that, because it’s not limited by the amount of workload one person or one team can do.”

Hyde joined the Stimson Center’s team of policy experts, former senior U.S. government leaders and top academic researchers in 2021. As senior advisor, he offers insights into digital technologies and their effects on international and national affairs. He also publishes, speaks publicly about and advises on other matters relating to global and national affairs, policy, diplomacy and security.

How he got there

Early interest in tech

Hyde’s interest in technology took root during his undergrad days, when he was a student-worker in Dickinson’s computer lab. As a graduate student in London, working for a member of the British Parliament as a follow up to his Dickinson undergraduate internship in the U.K. House of Commons, he collaborated with IBM to bring the first IBM personal computer into Parliament.

A few years later, he and his freshman-year roommate, R.F. "Rick" Shangraw '81, explored a side project in expert systems, an AI forerunner.

“That project didn’t go anywhere at the time, but it fascinated us both,” says Hyde, who once again teamed up with Shangraw, now a Dickinson trustee, a few years back, providing expert advice for the formation of Dickinson’s data-analytics program. “And you could say that the theme of emerging technology has run throughout my career.”

Lifelong education

Hyde’s Dickinson education provided a useful foundation for his career and the ongoing learning it requires. Hyde earned a master’s degree in national resource strategy (Dwight Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, National Defense University), and he’s also done graduate studies at the Hebrew University and the London School of Economics.

Staying ahead of the curve on the tech front, Hyde reads books and articles, listens to select podcasts, experiments hands-on and connects with fellow leaders. He has led efforts to develop The Stimson Center’s ethical guidelines on using generative AI. He also spoke recently at a U.N. Civil Society Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, about Global South concerns related to AI development.

“The theme of emerging technology has run throughout my career." —Andrew Hyde '81  

The long view

Hyde is enthusiastic about the ways AI can improve our lives and work. He’s also quick to stress the importance of rich international and cross-sector dialogues about the implications of AI and of combatting disinformation, bias and security risks. While he does not support excessive regulation, he believes that some guardrails are needed to ensure that AI and its use reflect societal values. Happily, he sees positive shifts in tech leaders’ partnerships with policymakers and regulators.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’re starting from a much better place than we were when social media emerged,” he says.

Still, as AI becomes ever more accessible and widely used—and the potential for AI-assisted disinformation and misinformation increases—individuals’ vigilance, awareness and critical thinking remain essential as well.

“To some extent, AI can be the answer to our concerns about disinformation and misinformation, because AI can detect AI. But there will still be a need for us to take a step back and assess,” Hyde says. “Ultimately, it’s the human brain—the ability to think critically, communicate across sectors, consider ethics and think outside of the box—that will be the key to success.”

Learn more about other Dickinson alumni working with AI.



Published May 31, 2024