Highlights: The 2024 AI for Good Global Summit

Jun 2, 2024 | Uncategorized

The 2024 AI for Good Global Summit, held in Geneva from 30 to 31 May, emphasised AI’s role in addressing global challenges and advancing sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The AI for Good Global Summit is the leading action-oriented United Nations platform promoting AI to advance health, climate, gender, inclusive prosperity, sustainable infrastructure, and other global development priorities. AI for Good is organised by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the UN specialised agency for information and communication technology – in partnership with 40 UN sister agencies and co-convened with the government of Switzerland.

 

 

The summit emphasised the global community’s concerns and hopes for AI by 2030, particularly regarding its focus on profit maximisation and social control. It aimed to harness AI’s potential for positive change through collaborative efforts and stakeholder engagement.

Key Panels and Discussions

Opening Remarks by Doreen Bogdan-Martin

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of the ITU highlighted the digital divide and the potential of AI to drive safe, inclusive, and sustainable advancements. ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin stressed the importance of inclusive and secure AI governance, highlighting the need to bridge the digital divide with 2.6 billion people still offline​“The AI genie is out of the bottle. And there’s no putting it back. But I think there is hope. You have sent a strong message to the world that the future of AI is not yet written. And as we look to 2030 and milestones, like the summit of the future in September, and next year’s WSIS + 20 review, I think now is the time. Now is the time that we have to redouble our efforts. Let’s redouble our efforts. Let’s make AI innovation inclusive. Let’s build safe, secure trustworthy AI systems. And let’s scale AI solutions so that we can rescue the SDGs.”

Future of AI by Azeem Azhar

Azeem Azhar, Founder of Exponential View unpacked the dual nature of AI as a technological boon and societal challenge, with applications in education, geospatial data, and language processing. “In Tanzania, an energy company used data from Atlas AI to identify 75,000 households who could benefit from solar-powered electricity.”

Tristan Harris, co-founder and executive director of the Center for Humane Technology highlighted the risks and governance gaps in AI development. “There’s a thousand to one gap between the collective resources going into increasing AI capabilities versus those that are increasing safety.”

Climate Action, Economy and AI

Anna Koivuniemi, Head of Google DeepMind Impact Accelerator discussed AI’s role in monitoring weather patterns, optimizing power grids, and developing biological systems to combat climate change. “There are much more important cases of extreme weather events like floods or forest fires that are today a reality; predicting them better may save lives.”

Gita Gopinath, First Deputy Managing Director of the IMF discussed AI’s potential risks in labor markets, financial markets, and supply chains, particularly during economic downturns. “Companies tend to replace humans with automation during downturns, leading to job losses. AI could accelerate this trend.”

Generative AI and Accessibility

Hao Li, CEO and Co-Founder of Pinscreen discussed the transformative potential and ethical considerations of generative AI. “Together with the World Economic Forum, we’ve developed the first real-time deep fake technology to showcase that it is possible actually to have live conversations with a fake person.”

Chieko Asakawa, IBM Fellow discussed how  AI technology empowers people with disabilities, such as the AI Suitcase for the visually impaired.

Bridging the AI Divide

Dr. Hakim Hacid, Acting Chief Researcher at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) discussed the critical need to democratize AI and address the “AI divide” between nations and institutions. “These people who can access and use this AI are in a specific place of the globe, usually the northern hemisphere.”

In conclusion, the 2024 AI for Good Global Summit underscored AI’s immense potential to drive positive change across various sectors while highlighting the need for inclusive, ethical, and sustainable governance frameworks. The event fostered meaningful discussions and collaborative efforts to shape an AI-driven future that benefits all of humanity.

 

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