Susan Ariel Aaronson

Headshot of Susan Aaronson

Susan Ariel Aaronson

Research Professor; Director, Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub

Research Faculty

Department: International Institute for Science and Technology


Office Phone: 202-994-7974
Fax: 202-994-5477
1957 E St. NW, Office #403O Washington, D.C. 20052

Susan Ariel Aaronson is Research Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University (GWU). Aaronson is also co-principal investigator with the NSF -NIST (National Science Foundation and (National Institute of Standards and Technology Institute for Trustworthy AI in Law & Society, TRAILS, where she leads research on data and AI governance. Aaronson was recently named one of GWU's Public Interest Technology Scholars, where she works to encourage interdisciplinary research on technology.

Susan is also director of the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub at GWU. The Hub was founded in 2019 and educates policy makers, the press and the public about data governance and data-driven change through conferences, webinars, study groups, primers and scholarly papers. It is the only organization in the world that maps the governance of public, proprietary and personal data at the domestic and international levels. The Hub’s research has been funded by foundations such as Ford and Minderoo. Susan currently directs projects on governing data for generative AI, ensuring that data is globally accurate, complete, and representative and on AI protectionism. Aaronson also frequently writes on XR sets. She regularly writes op-eds for Barron’s and Fortune, and was a commentator on economics for NPR’s Marketplace, All Things Considered and Morning Edition, and for NBC, CNN, the BBC and PBS.

international trade, data governance, human rights, AI, XR and other data driven technologies

GWU Public Interest Technology Scholar-2024
GWU Cross-Disciplinary Scholar-2017

What is AI protectionism?
How can we create more accurate, complete and globally representative datasets?
What is the relationship between AI and XR?
Are open source variants of AI more trustworthy because they create a feedback loop among participants?

Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

HIST 6031 History of International Economic Systems: the WTO and the Bretton Woods Institutions

IAFF 6198 Special Topics in International Trade and Investment Policy

  • Trade Issues and Strategies
  • Digital Trade and Global Governance Issues
  • Corruption, Development and Good Governance

Book Chapters

Trade agreements and disinformation, Chapter in Global Digital Data Governance Polycentric Perspectives, Edited By Carolina Aguerre, Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn, Jan Aart Scholte Routledge, Copyright 2024.


Peer-reviewed Scholarly Articles

Building trust in digital trade will require a rethink of Trade policy-making, Oxford Review of Economic Policy  Dec, 2022  Vol 38, No. 4.

Building trust in digital trade will require a rethink of trade policy-making, Oxford International Review, forthcoming.

Data is Different and that’s Why the world Needs a new Approach to Governing Cross-Border Data Flows, Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, May 2019.

What Are We Talking About When We Discuss Digital Protectionism?, World Trade Review: 2018 (Winter)


Policy Briefs and Working Papers


Facing Reality: Canada Needs to Think about Extended Reality and AI, CIGI Papers No. 289 — February 2024, with Adam Zable

Data Disquiet: Concerns about the Governance of Data for Generative AI, March, 2024, CIGI

Missing Persons: The Case of National AI Strategies, ) CIGI Papers No. 283, September 2023.

Wicked Problems Might Inspire Greater Data Sharing, CIGI Paper 273,

Building Trust in AI: A Landscape Analysis of Government AI Programs, March 6, 2023.

A Lost Opportunity to Build Trust in AI, OECD.AI, forthcoming CIGI

A Future Built on Data: Data Strategies, Competitive Advantage, and Trust, CIGI Paper No. 266, June 9, 2022.

Listening to Users and Other Ideas for Building Trust in Digital Trade, CIGI Paper No. 258, September 21, 2021.

Could Trade Agreements Help Address the Wicked Problem of Cross-Border Disinformation?, CIGI Paper No. 255, July 25, 2021.

with Thomas Struett, Data is Divisive: A History of Public Communications on E-Commerce, 1998-2020, CIGI Paper No. 247, December 2020.

Data is Dangerous: Comparing the Risks that the United States, Canada and Germany See in Data Troves, CIGI Papers No. 241, April 2020.


Op Eds

Biden's New AI Policy Falls Short on a Key Problem, Barron’s  

A New Approach to Digital Public Goods Is Gaining Steam, Barron’s

Weak Data Protection Puts National Security at Risk, Barron’s, August 12, 2020,  

Why we Need a Wicked Problems Agency, The Hill,  7/13/2020