Why Artificial Intelligence is Critical in the Race to SDG Achievement | Technology

Why Artificial Intelligence is Critical in the Race to SDG Achievement | Technology
Why Artificial Intelligence is Critical in the Race to SDG Achievement 

Why Artificial Intelligence is vital in the race to achieve the SDGs?

  • The pandemic showed the potential for AI to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.
  • It has potential application in health, climate change, agriculture and transportation.
  • But you have to make sure Artificial Intelligence is employed in ways that are trusted, transparent and inclusive.

Seven years have passed since world leaders met in New York and agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to solve major challenges such as poverty, hunger, inequality, climate change and health. 

The pandemic has undoubtedly diverted attention from some of these issues in the last couple of years. But even before COVID-19, the UN was warning that progress in meeting the SDGs was not advancing at the speed or scale needed. Greeting them in 2030 will be difficult.

However, I remain optimistic. The pandemic has demonstrated like nothing else the power of working collaboratively, across borders, for the benefit of society. It focuses minds, funding, and policy on accelerating research into virus detection, disease treatments, vaccines, and manufacturing platforms.

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The role of Artificial Intelligence in accelerating the ODS 

It was a truly remarkable effort of the global community to develop effective vaccines within a year since the virus was first detected, and these and other treatments have drastically reduced the mortality rate of the virus. This can be attributed to the brilliance, perseverance and creativity of scientists around the world. But they were not working alone: artificial intelligence (AI) also played a key role. 

Modern American company was one of the first to launch an effective vaccine COVID-19. One reason why this breakthrough could be achieved so quickly was the use of AI to accelerate development. Director of data and artificial intelligence Moderna, Dave Johnson explains that AI algorithms and robotic automation helped them move to produce manually about 30 mRNA (a key molecule for the vaccine) each month to produce about 1000 to the month.

Modern is also using artificial intelligence to help in the design of mRNA sequences. Co-founder, Noubar Afeyan, recently he predicted during a visit to the Imperial College London that immune medicine will see “significant progress” in coming years, and we can look forward to a future in which medicine is more preventive than reactionary.

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“If we can catch the disease early and delay it, at a minimum, we could have a lot more impact at a much lower cost,” he said. This is a great example of how AI can free up time for scientists to accelerate discovery and spend effort solving big challenges.

We are also seeing examples of AI technology driving improvements in other areas of healthcare, such as disease detection for cancer and malaria. Researchers from Google Health, DeepMind, NHS, Northwestern University and Imperial colleagues designed and trained an AI model to detect breast cancer from X-ray images.
The computer algorithm, which was trained using mammography images from nearly 29,000 women, proved to be as effective as human radiologists in detecting cancer. At a time when health services around the world are stretched thin as they deal with the long backlog of patients following the pandemic, this type of technology can help alleviate bottlenecks and improve treatment. 

For malaria, a molecular diagnostic system from Hands Lab on a Chip powered by AI could revolutionize how the disease is detected in remote parts of Africa. The project, led by the Digital Diagnostics for Africa Network, brings together partners such as MinoHealth AI Labs in Ghana and Imperial College London’s global development center. This technology could help pave the way for universal health coverage and push us towards achieving SDG3. 

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There are many other examples of how advances in AI could support our understanding of climate change (SDG13), enable our transition to sustainable transportation systems (SDG11), and accelerate agricultural technology to help farmers end poverty and poverty. food malnutrition (SDG2) among many benefits for the other SDGs as well.

For example, the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s National Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, is using machine learning to better understand the complex interactions between climate and Arctic sea ice. 

With an expanding global population, we face challenges around food demand and production, not only how to reduce malnutrition but also the impact on the planet, such as deforestation, emissions and biodiversity loss. To meet these needs, the use of artificial intelligence in agriculture is growing rapidly, enabling farmers to improve crop production, direct machinery to perform tasks autonomously, and identify pest infestations before they occur.

Smart sensing technology is also helping farmers use fertilizers more effectively and reduce environmental damage. An exciting research project, funded by EPSRC, Innovate UK and Cytiva, will help growers optimize the timing and amount of fertilizer to use on their crops, taking into account factors such as weather and soil conditions. This will reduce the expense and damaging effects of over-fertilizing the soil. 

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The development of sustainable and smart transportation systems will also be vital as cities and countries seek to reduce the impact of air pollution and improve infrastructure. In the last decade, AI has fueled a revolution in transportation and mobility, from autonomous vehicles to ride-sharing apps and route planners. AI is also being used to make public transportation systems more efficient, reduce traffic congestion and pollution, and improve safety. 

Despite its benefits for research and medicine, integrating AI into society and innovation is not always easy. Recent controversies over facial recognition, automated decision-making, and COVID-related tracking have raised some caution and suspicion. We need to make sure that AI is used in a trustworthy, transparent and inclusive way. We need to ensure that there is an internationally coordinated collaborative approach, just as there was in the pandemic.

The World Economic Forum’s Global AI Action Alliance brings together more than 100 leading companies, governments, international organizations, non-profits and academics united in a commitment to maximize the societal benefits of AI and minimize its risks.

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It is imperative that we implement good processes and practices to ensure that the AI will develop in a positive and ethical way for citizens and governments adopt it and use it to the maximum.

Now we must work together to ensure that artificial intelligence can accelerate the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals and help us return to the way to achieve by 2030

Source: World Economic Forum, Direct News 99 

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