UNESCO Launches Publication on Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development


UNESCO-Director-General-Audrey-AzoulayOn November 27, 2019, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) unveiled a publication on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Sustainable Development at the just concluded Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2019 held in Berlin, Germany.

Titled “Steering AI and Advanced ICTs for Knowledge Societies: a ROAM perspective,” it was unveiled during an Open Forum titled Formulating Policy Options for Big Data and AI Development, recognizes artificial intelligence (AI) as an opportunity to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), through its contribution to building inclusive knowledge societies.

Moez Chakchouk, the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information of UNESCO, in the preface to the publication said: “This study frames its assessment of AI through on UNESCO’s Internet Universality ROAM framework agreed by our Member States in 2015. It therefore covers how AI and advanced ICTs will impact Human Rights, Openness and Access, and how a Multi-stakeholder approach underpins work to address both the challenges and opportunities.”

Ms Xianhong Hu, who presented the book’s major findings at the IGF event on behalf of the research team pointed out that it is a unique multidisciplinary research as it tackles a broad spectrum of issues related to AI development: freedom of expression, access to information, privacy, journalism and media development, right to equality and public participation, media and information literacy, open data, AI divide within and among countries, multistakeholder AI governance model as well as gender equality and empowering Africa.

Xianhong said: “One key overarching recommendation, among many others from the research is the application of Internet Universality Indicators at national level, in order to research, map and improve the ecosystem in which AI is developed, applied and governed.”

Experts and panelists commended the UNESCO report as an important and cutting edge contribution to formulating AI norms, standards and policies and shared their views on the future of AI and advanced ICTs.

The launch event was moderated by Guilherme Canela de Souza Godoi, Advisor for Communication and Information at UNESCO Office in Montevideo. Cedric Wachholz, UNESCO Chief of Section for ICT in Education, Science and Culture, opened the session with a welcome address.