United Nations counting on AI and robots to save its failing Social Development Goals

The 17 goals were set by the UN in 2015 and over the years, these goals have become unachievable.
Sejal Sharma
Ai-Da, a robot being showcased at the summit
Ai-Da, a robot being showcased at the summit

Ai-Da Robot 

The United Nations’ ‘AI for Good’ Summit is underway in Geneva and will showcase specialized robots to help the organization reach its 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs).

The goals were set in 2015, and over the years, have become improbable, owing to the increasing costs of meeting its targets. The United Nations has been fighting issues like hunger, poverty, and climate change, whose prices have risen 25% to $176 trillion from 2021 to 2022, reported Reuters.

With less than 10 years to solve the UN SDGs, the Summit organized in Switzerland aims to identify practical applications of AI to advance the SDGs and scale those solutions for global impact.

‘AI holds great promise’

The Summit will showcase humanoid robots acting as nursing assistants, contemporary artists, companionship, and conversation robots; all of which the United Nations believes could be used for positive causes.

There’s been a spate of AI advances in chatbots, object detection, human emotion recognition, etc. Some even believe AI or artificial general intelligence (AGI) will take over humanity.

Still, Frederic Werner, Head of Strategic Engagement at the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (organizer of the Summit), says that the idea is to showcase capabilities, opportunities, and challenges of AI and robots to start a global dialogue, reported Reuters.

SDGs are failing; AI last hope?

Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the Summit, which is taking place from July 6-7. On day 1 of the Summit, 50 robot demonstrations from companies like Pepper the Robot, GoBe Robot, Aliengo, B1, and Go1 will lead in cutting-edge robotic AI solutions.

On the second day of the Summit, a panel of robots is expected to take questions from the press.

“The proliferation of robotics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud and mobile computing, can support human well-being and the SDGs,” noted the United Nations 2023 report on progress towards the SDGs.

The other area in which the UN is already using AI is the World Food Programme's HungerMap project which pools data to identify regions sliding towards hunger. AI is also being used in the same project to develop remote-controlled trucks to help deliver emergency aid in danger zones.

The World Health Organization is also working towards a benchmarking system powered by AI, which will help ensure the accuracy of disease diagnoses, reported Reuters.

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