AI Turbo-Charges Sustainability Development

April 1, 2022
Learn about the ITU’s new program, AI for Good […]

New Tool for Telecom/ICT Sustainability Goals and More

A new community platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI), launched in February by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), aims to step up global collaboration on the use of AI to drive sustainable development.

The AI for Good Neural Network is designed to accelerate exchanges among government and industry, as well as to foster partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations for 2030.

The new networking tool features AI-enabled smart-matching to help users build connections with innovators and experts, to link innovative ideas with social impact opportunities, and to bring the community together to discuss AI applications for social good.

AI for Good, organized by ITU in partnership with 40 organizations across the UN system and co-convened with Switzerland, provides the leading action-oriented, global, inclusive platform promoting AI to advance health, climate, gender, inclusive prosperity, sustainable infrastructure, and other global development priorities.

"This new cutting-edge tool brings AI for Good to the service of the United Nations and our global community in ways that were not possible just a few years ago," said ITU’s Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao. "With the ongoing pandemic shifting our work and learning environments largely online, the Neural Network now leverages the power of AI to stimulate meaningful action, bring more partners aboard, and ramp up AI in pursuit of sustainable development."

Expanding on ITU’s AI for Good program, the Neural Network offers content and collaboration opportunities aligned to each of the United Nation’s 17 SDGs, to help transform our world. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1.

"Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) offer some highly practical applications across multiple industries and sectors—applications with considerable potential to serve as a force for good," explained Chaesub Lee, Director of ITU’s standardization bureau. "AI and ML are gaining ground in ITU’s standardization work, with research, analysis and stakeholder discussions focusing on network orchestration and management, multimedia coding, service quality assessment, and various aspects of telecom management, operation and services, as well as cable networks, all supporting accelerated digital transformation in key industry verticals."

A few examples below show how action-oriented initiatives and programs are creating the building blocks needed to bring about real change:

  • Several ITU pre-standardization initiatives have turned to AI to find solutions and help set standards for better health care, autonomous and assisted driving, environmental efficiency, natural disaster management, ML in 5G networks and most recently, digital agriculture.
  • At the AI for Good Innovation Factory, start-ups pitch AI innovations addressing key socio-economic challenges. In the AI/ML in 5G Challenge, students and experts compete to solve real-world ML puzzles in 5G networks.

These action-oriented initiatives and programs are effectively creating the building blocks needed to deploy AI for Good at scale.

Through the Neural Network, community members can connect to each other, receive personalized content, and pursue engagement aligned to their profiles, goals, and needs. Since no 2 human interactions are the same, the inclusive platform reflects both community and individual needs.

The smart matching mechanism—designed according to the principles of the Global Initiative in AI and Data Commons—will connect AI innovators to anyone with an AI-related problem, as a step towards globally scaled AI solutions. For example, it can generate matches for open data and AI algorithms, cloud storage and computing power, problem statements and expertise, funding and mentorships, domain transfer, SDG alignment, and more.

The AI for Good Neural Network is open to all with an interest in how AI can positively impact the future of humankind.

About the Author

International Telecommunication Union

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 900 companies, universities, and international and regional organizations. 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. https://www.itu.int/hub/2022/02/artificial-intelligence-ai-for-good-neural-network/ For more information, visit www.itu.int and https://aiforgood.itu.int/neural-network/. You can also follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ITU, LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/international-telecommunication-union/, and Instagram: https://instagram.com/ituofficial.