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UNESCO launches study on Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development at IGF 2019

28 November 2019

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UNESCO’s new publication Steering AI and Advanced ICTS for Knowledge Societies was launched at the Internet Governance Forum in Berlin, on 27 November 2019.
© UNESCO

Steering AI and Advanced ICTs for Knowledge Societies: a ROAM perspective is the title of the new publication launched by UNESCO at the 2019 Internet Governance Forum.The report, unveiled on 27 November 2019 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.

Released at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) held in Berlin, it is the 12th edition of the UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom.

« 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. »

This statement comes from a new UNESCO publication, within the preface by Moez Chakchouk,  the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information of UNESCO.

Xianhong Hu, on behalf of the research team, presented the book’s major findings at the IGF event.

She 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.

 « 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 » stressed the UNESCO programme specialist.

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. 

Mr Alex Comninos, ICT Policy Researcher at Research ICT Africa; Ms Jai Vipra, Tech Policy researcher at IT for Change; Prof Robert Krimmer, Managing Director and Founder at E-Voting.CC; Ms Izzy Ferrandez, Co-Founder & CTO of Green Feast and Teens in AI Ambassador; and Dr Xiao Zhang, Executive Secretary-General of World Internet Conference (WIC) Secretariat.

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 welcoming address.

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