Home Uncategorized ITU News: Near-term opportunities to apply artificial intelligence for ‘good’ focus of Global Summit

ITU News: Near-term opportunities to apply artificial intelligence for ‘good’ focus of Global Summit

by Desmond Dallen

Near-term opportunities to apply artificial intelligence for ‘good’ focus of Global Summit

Experts convene in Geneva to rally around AI projects to advance sustainable development

Geneva, 15 May 2018

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The world’s leading minds in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and humanitarian action are convening from today for the three-day 2nd AI for Good Global Summit. The summit will generate AI strategies and supporting projects to accelerate progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It will connect AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers, building collaboration to take promising strategies forward.

The AI for Good series is the leading United Nations platform for dialogue on AI. The 2nd AI for Good Global Summit is taking place at the global headquarters of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technology (ICT). It is being organized by ITU in partnership with the XPRIZE Foundation, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and 32 sister United Nations agencies.

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“The inaugural 2017 summit sparked inclusive global dialogue on the potential of AI to act as a force for good,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The action-oriented 2018 summit will now harness this momentum to identify practical applications of AI to improve the quality and sustainability of life on our planet.”

The summit’s participants will rally around near-term AI solutions capable of yielding benefits of long-term relevance to sustainable development.

The first day of the summit will set the scene for the work ahead. Experts will explore the many dimensions of AI’s growing influence on our societies and economies. They will share insight into the state of play in AI technologies and applications, forecasting AI advances and associated transformations appearing on the horizon.

“Over the years, XPRIZE competitions have inspired innovation to address some of the grand challenges identified by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and as a result we have foreseen the need to spark a bigger conversation centered around the use of exponential technologies such as AI,” said Anousheh Ansari, Member & Chair of Management of XPRIZE Foundation Board of Directors. “XPRIZE co-organized the first summit with ITU, as we believe the ability to create safe, beneficial and ethical AI solutions can greatly improve life on our planet for all and lead us to a better future, and we look forward to supporting the collaborative efforts that will come out of this Summit as we continue our partnership with ITU.”

“AI technologies have enormous potential to effect positive change in nearly every facet of life,” said ACM President Vicki L. Hanson. “While many AI gatherings are valuable forums where important ideas are presented and discussed, AI for Good emphasizes teams working together to develop actionable steps in which AI is employed to aid society. In this way, the summit presents a valuable model of how societies will need to address AI challenges and opportunities in the future.”

The heart of the summit – spanning the length of the second day – will see ‘breakthrough teams’ demonstrating AI’s value to humanitarian action and sustainable development.

These teams will highlight AI’s potential to advance healthcare, support citizen-centric services in smart cities, and map poverty using satellite imagery. They will investigate means to meet the data demands of AI algorithms and build trust and transparency in the application of artificial intelligence. Their ultimate goal is to propose AI strategies and supporting projects that could be enacted in the near term for the benefit of humanity.

Teams will be guided in this endeavour by an expert audience representing government, industry, academia and civil society.

The matchmaking exercise will introduce problem owners to solution owners. On the third day of the summit, participants will evaluate proposed strategies according to their feasibility and scalability and potential to address truly global challenges.

The 2018 summit is kindly supported by Gold Sponsors: ACM, the Kay Family Foundation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and PWC; and Silver Sponsors: Ernst & Young and the Zero Abuse Project.

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About ITU

ITU is the specialized United Nations agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of nearly 800 private sector entities and academic institutions. Established over 150 years ago in 1865, ITU is the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world.


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances—igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the Lunar XPRIZE, $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE.

About ACM

ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking.

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