The goal of AI for Good is to identify practical applications of AI to accelerate progress towards the SDGs and connect AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers to help scale up AI solutions globally. AI for Good is organized by ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, together with 40 partner UN agencies. The summit is co-convened by the government of Switzerland.
The landmark 2017 AI for Good Global Summit marked the beginning of a global dialogue on the potential of AI to act as a force for good. The action-oriented 2018 and 2019 summits gave rise to numerous AI for Good projects including several ITU “pre-standardization” initiatives investigating the standardization requirements for high-potential AI use cases.
IFIP announced in September 2022 a formal partnership with the ITU (International Telecommunications Union) AI for Good program to increase its scale and impact. IFIP President Anthony Wong said the partnership will progress the goals and mission of IFIP, which was founded over 60 years ago under the auspices of UNESCO. “IFIP aims to achieve the worldwide professional and socially responsible development and application of information and communication technologies,” he said.
The 2023 AI for Good Global Summit 2023 combined 2,500+ participants and online participation from the over 22,000 members of the AI-powered community platform, the AI for Good Neural Network, making it the world’s largest and most inclusive AI solutions and matchmaking event.
ITU Secretary-General, Doreen Bogdan-Martin encapsulated the spirit of the initiative during the Summit, saying, “AI for Good is more than an initiative; it’s a global community dedicated to leveraging technology for the betterment of humanity.”
Featuring more than 50 robots and various stages for Robotics, SDGs, and Discovery, the 4th AI for Good Global Summit was a triumph of collaboration. Head of Strategic Engagement, Frederic Werner, reflected on the summit’s success, stating, “Our strength lies in partnerships, in shared visions, and in unwavering commitment to creating a more equitable world through technology.”
Among its achievements, AI for Good launched the AI for Good Innovation Factory, a UN-based startup accelerator to help start-ups grow and scale their innovative AI-powered and SDG-driven solutions. Stephen Ibaraki, the outreach Chair of #AIforGood says: “One of the goals of AI for Good is to identify practical applications of AI to advance the SDGs. As one of the judges and mentors of the innovation factory I have seen this process generate countless applications of AI for good that can be used by anyone, anywhere. This is AI for Good in action. ” This year’s winner, UltraSound AI, was celebrated at the Global Summit. Seizo Oneo, Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB) at ITU, emphasized the transformative potential of this initiative, saying, “The Innovation Factory gives wings to innovative ideas that can change the world. It’s a testament to the power of shared ambition and ingenuity.”
A new United Nations initiative announced at the AI for Good Global Summit focuses on scaling up AI solutions for health. It aims to ensure that AI fulfils its potential to support diagnosis and treatment, along with more efficient and inclusive healthcare services. The Global Initiative on AI for Health is spearheaded by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The initiative aims to develop technical standards and policy guidance, facilitate knowledge and data sharing, and support evidence-based decisions on the introduction of AI solutions for health.
It builds on the momentum created by the ITU-WHO Focus Group on AI for Health established in 2018. “The unity of our organizations demonstrates how interdisciplinary cooperation can create solutions to the most pressing global health challenges” reflected Thomas Wiegand.
During the 2023 Global Summit, another initiative was launched. The ITU, IAEA, FAO, UNESCO and World Bank joined forces launching the new contest, AI climate change challenge, which “aims to advance the development of solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) to address the impact of climate change on food security and sustainable water resources” (IAEA, 2023). “We are looking forward to participate on behalf of the digital industry at COP28 and to demonstrate that digital can be a solution first to the climate crisis but also the digital industry takes the sole responsibility to be sustainable very seriously” said Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General of the ITU.
The highlight of this Summit was the world’s first humanoid press conference, featuring 8 humanoids, answering questions ranging from “What are your thoughts for the potential AI powered humanoid robots to be more effective leads in governments (…)” to “as AI becomes more powerful and sophisticated (…) how can we as humans continue to trust you the machines.”
AI for Good invites the global community to contribute resources, expertise, and funding. Your participation can shape the future of AI for Good and, ultimately, the future of our world. Together, we can create a legacy of positive change. Save the date for the 5th edition of the AI for Good Global Summit happening the week of 20-24 May 2024.