With the rapid advancements and applications of AI, conversations and concerns have increased around the intentions of this technology. There are concerns that AI could be used with malicious intent rather than for the benefit of humankind. This paper explores areas where artificial intelligence can benefit society and tackle global challenges such as the environment, education, healthcare and sustainability.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming our lives, and will redesign life as we know it for future generations. Although AI is not a silver bullet for overcoming global challenges, there is huge potential to conquer some of the biggest obstacles and offer meaningful solutions by applying AI. The scope for social impact is vast, and we are already seeing countless industries implement machine learning technologies, with some of the most notable being healthcare, education, environment and sustainability, energy, and transport amongst others. Applying AI is one thing, but ensuring it’s engineered with a positive social outcome for all must be at the core of every design and engineering step, else the potential for adverse ramifications is of concern. Issues that have previously challenged experts, such as curing cancer or predicting natural disasters, are being addressed by teams of pioneers across the globe who are harnessing AI in an attempt to make some of the most severe obstacles concerns of the past.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlines 17 global goals to achieve 3 major milestones to transform the world by 2030. The overarching goals are to End Extreme Poverty, Fight Inequality and Injustice, and to Tackle Climate Change. The global goals are: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well- being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Reduced
Inequality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, Partnerships to Achieve the Goal. (Global Goals, 2018)
From saving lives to helping with personal banking; from raising crop productivity to predicting the location of earthquakes; AI is already playing a key role in realizing these goals. For example, DeepMind Health are striving to ‘make a practical difference to patients, nurses and doctors’, whilst Microsoft Translator is used in schools across the globe to ‘create live subtitles during lessons’ to promote inclusivity, and the World Economic Forum is supporting the growth of ‘low-carbon, green electricity’ through AI with the potential of a huge long-term impact. These are just a few of the areas that are already undergoing immense overhauls from the positive effects of AI.
‘As AI becomes more integrated into decision making and our daily lives, it’s absolutely critical that we have diversity in who is building and shaping this technology from the beginning. Diverse perspectives yield more innovative, human-centered, and ethical products. And if this powerful tool is only in the hands of a few, it could exacerbate inequities and inequalities that we are trying to fix in society today.’ (Tess Posner, AI4ALL)
Contributors include experts from:
With the rapid advancements and applications of AI, conversations have increased around the intentions of this technology. There are concerns that AI could be used with malicious intent rather than for the benefit of human-kind. This paper explores areas where artificial intelligence can benefit society and tackle global challenges such as the environment, education, healthcare and sustainability. Topics including Global AI Initiatives, the Challenges of AI, Benefits of AI for Social Good, the Future of AI for Good are covered, as well as case studies from Google, Intuitive AI and GoodAI. Additional expert contributors include Shell, WeWork, XPRIZE, University of Waterloo, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab and more.
"AI for Social Good means recognizing that the technology of artificial intelligence does not exist in a vacuum but is always and already situated in a specific social context and therefore needs to be developed and deployed in a manner that is sensitive to these opportunities and challenges." David J. Gunkel, Northern Illinois University
"AI can easily be used for more nefarious purposes; everything from biased hiring algorithms to spreading misinformation on social media to using computer vision for targeting drone strikes. For now, AI remains a tool in the hands of human beings, the same as sledgehammers or acetylene torches. It’s only an extension of our desires and prejudices." Karry Lu, WeWork
"80% of AI Professors at top universities are male, 71% of applicants for AI jobs in the USA are male, 11% of science & engineering jobs are held by black & Latinx people (2015), 7% of bachelor’s degrees in computer science in the US are earned by women of color (2015). We must foster a diverse next generation of leaders through education, mentorship, and increased accessibility." Tess Posner, AI4ALL
• Making the Most of AI
• Global AI Initiatives
• The Challenges of AI
• Benefits of AI for Social Good
• Case Study: Ethics - Cathy Pearl, Google
• Case Study: Environment - Hassan Murad, IntuitiveAI
• Case Study: Employment - Will Millership, GoodAI
• What Next?