The AI for Good Global Summit explored AI’s potential to make “a massive leap” in healthcare, eradicate diseases that affect millions, transform education, and empower people around the world to build a better future.
ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin called for global cooperation to “ensure AI reaches its full potential, while preventing and mitigating harms”.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and partners convened a summit to promote artificial intelligence (AI) “to advance health, climate, gender, inclusive prosperity, sustainable infrastructure, and other global development priorities.” The AI for Good Global Summit sought to identify practical applications of AI to support the SDGs and “scale those solutions for global impact.”
AI for Good is a digital platform, organized by ITU in partnership with 40 UN sister agencies and co-convened with Switzerland, where AI innovators and problem owners can connect year round to identify AI solutions that can help reach the SDGs. The Summit took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 6-7 July 2023, bringing together governments, civil society, UN agencies, AI innovators, and investors.
ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin described AI as “a powerful catalyst for progress in our race to rescue the SDGs.” Among AI’s contributions, UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted its potential to make “a massive leap” in healthcare, eradicate diseases that affect millions, transform education, and empower people around the world to build a better future.
At the same time, the UN Secretary-General warned of AI’s potential dangers, including the development and use of autonomous lethal weapons and mis- and disinformation. Guterres said it “requires guardrails grounded in human rights, transparency, and accountability,” to ensure its development is “for the good of all.” Bogdan-Martin called for global cooperation to “ensure AI reaches its full potential, while preventing and mitigating harms.”
The Summit featured a ‘Robotics for Good’ exhibition where inventors presented more than 50 robots, including the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) Sophia who is its first robot Innovation Ambassador. According to ITU, robots “can support people’s health, provide educational services, help persons with disabilities, reduce waste, and assist emergency response in disasters.” In addition, “[e]fficient construction robots … could pave the way to providing sustainable and affordable housing for everyone,” and by “transforming urban logistics and transportation, … [robots] could lay the groundwork for greener, safer, and more inclusive” living spaces.
As per the UN Secretary-General, AI’s practical applications discussed at the Summit will complement the work of the High-level Advisory Body on AI that he is “planning to establish,” the Global Digital Compact, and preparations for the Summit of the Future in 2024. [UN News Story about AI for Good Global Summit] [UN News Story about Robots] [AI for Good Global Summit 2023]