UN & ITU plan ‘AI for Good’ Summit in Sep 2020 for tech-led solutions to global problems

New Delhi: Ten years remain to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development ​Goals (SDGs). Leaders in AI and humanitarian action will convene at the 2020 AI for Good Global Summit from 21 to 25 September (originally planned for 4 to 8 May) with strong intent to ensure that ‘AI for Good’ solutions achieve a scale matching that of the ambitions captured by the SDGs.

The AI for Good Global Summit is the leading United Nations platform for inclusive dialogue on AI. The summit will identify practical applications of AI to accelerate progress towards the SDGs and build collaboration to assist these applications in achieving global impact.

In its fourth edition, the 2020 AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva will continue to connect AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers in the interests of stimulating the discovery and delivery of ‘AI for Good’ solutions for all.

The 2020 Summit will be co-organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs) – and the XPRIZE Foundation, in partnership with Switzerland, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and a wide variety of sister United Nations agencies.

The 2017 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 an ‘AI for Health’ Focus Group led by ITU and the World Health Organization (WHO), an ITU Focus Group on ‘AI for Autonomous and Assisted Driving’, and an open framework for collaboration in ‘AI Commons’.

The pursuit of global impact will be the defining feature of the 2020 summit.

“Three editions of the AI for Good Global Summit have recognized the significance of the leap from AI promise to global impact,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, adding, “We see renewed resolve within the ‘AI for Good’ community to create the conditions necessary to make this leap and accelerate progress towards the achievement of the SDGs.”

“With only 10 years remaining to achieve the United Nations SDGs, AI is sure to be an invaluable technology to accomplish these critical goals that are designed to ensure a more sustainable and equitable future for all,” said XPRIZE CEO Anousheh Ansari. “At XPRIZE, our mission is to facilitate radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity, and our ongoing collaboration on the AI for Good Global Summit is one way we hope to accelerate safe and ethical development of AI and machine learning technology.”​​

The summit will attract a wide array of AI experts from industry and academia, global business leaders, Heads of UN agencies, ICT ministers, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and artists.

The summit is designed to generate ‘AI for Good’ projects able to be enacted in the near term, guided by the summit’s multi-stakeholder and inter-disciplinary audience. It also aims to ensure trusted, safe, and inclusive development of AI technologies and equitable access to their benefits.

The 2020 summit will generate AI breakthroughs in climate and environmental action, the elimination of hunger, gender equality, healthcare, smart and safe mobility, the preservation of cultural heritage, and the protection of access to trustworthy information. An ‘AI Innovation Factory’ will showcase new ‘AI for Good’ ideas, crowd-sourced AI challenges and promising AI startups. A ‘partner day’ will offer potential AI adopters an audience with leading AI experts and educators.

A dynamic show floor will feature innovations at the cutting edge of AI research and development, such as RoboCup football matches, the AWS Deep Racer autonomous driving challenge, an AI gymnastics judge for the Tokyo Olympics, avatar prototypes, robot chefs, and AI-powered solutions to assist persons with disabilities. Summit attendees can also look forward to AI-inspired performances from ground-breaking artists and musicians.

Over 100 speakers are expected and early confirmations include names like Yoshua Bengio (Founder and Scientific Director, Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms), Anousheh Ansari (CEO, XPRIZE Foundation; Space Ambassador​​), Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams (Minister of Communications and Telecommunications, South Africa), Francesca Rossi (IBM AI Ethics Global Leader), Vicki Hanson (CEO, ACM) and Lucas di Grassi (Formula E Racing Champion; CEO, Roborace and United Nations Clean Air Ambassador)​ among a few others.

The summit will be organized in partnership with various other sister United Nations agencies such as the CTBTO, FAO, ICAO, ILO, IMO, IOM, UNAIDS, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNDPA, UNECE, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFCCC, UNFPA, UNGP, UN Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNICRI, UNIDIR, UNIDO, UNISDR, UNITAR, UNODA, UNODC, UNOOSA, UNRISD, UNU, UN Women, UNWTO, WBG, WFP, WHO, WIPO, WMO.

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