Global AI Summit to focus on how to accelerate progress on SDGs




The AI for Good Global Summit, set for May in Geneva, Switzerland, is expected to lead the UN platform for inclusive dialogue on AI. The summit identifies practical applications of AI to accelerate progress towards the SDGs and builds collaboration to assist these applications in achieving global impact.

Now 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 meeting comes at time with only 10 years remaining to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development ​Goals (SDGs). Leaders in AI and humanitarian action are therefore expected to at the Summit with strong intent to ensure that ‘AI for Good’ solutions achieve a scale matching that of the ambitions captured by the SDGs.

The 2020 summit is co-organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN’s specialized agency for ICTs, and the XPRIZE Foundation, in partnership with Switzerland, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and other partner UN 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, 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. “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 attracts a cross-section 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 on 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 to attend including:​​​​

    • ​Yoshua Bengio, founder and Scientific Director, Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA); ACM Turing Award Winner 2018
    • Anousheh Ansari, CEO, XPRIZE Foundation; Space Ambassador​​
    • Stuart Russell, Professor, UC-Berkeley; Adjunct Professor, UC-San Francisco; Author of “Human Compatible AI”
    • Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Minister of Communications and Telecommunications, South Africa
    • Francesca Rossi, IBM AI Ethics Global Leader
    • Pascale Fung, Professor, Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology; Director of Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research (CAiRE)
    • Shwetak Patel, Washington Research Foundation Entrepreneurship Endowed Professor in Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington; ACM Computing Prize Winner 2018
    • Maggie Carter, Principal, Disaster Response Program, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
    • Elizabeth Bramson-Bodreau, CEO, MIT Technology Review
    • Vicki Hanson, CEO, ACM
    • Anja Kaspersen – Director, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs
    • ​Lucas di Grassi, Formula E Racing Champion; CEO, Roborace; United Nations Clean Air Ambassador​​

The 2020 summit is sponsored by Diamond Sponsors Switzerland, Immersion4 and Planet Home, Platinum Sponsor AWS; Gold Sponsors ACM and the Kay Family Foundation; Silver Sponsors Fondation Botnar and Monash Data Futures Institute; and Bronze Sponsors Live Tiles, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) and Trax.GD.

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