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IBM Joins Effort by UN and Vatican to Use Ethical AI in Fight Against Hunger


The Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, which began the year by urging the ethical development and application of artificial intelligence (AI), has announced an effort to use technology to fight world hunger, which has worsened during the pandemic. The Vatican institution, in collaboration with IBM, Microsoft and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, is encouraging governments, nonprofits and corporations to assure that technology is used to feed everyone, and to make farmers' lives more efficient and productive. In its quest to assure the transparent, responsible and inclusive use of AI, the Vatican and FAO are pushing for solutions in agriculture that will benefit not just the well off, but also the poor. "We need to face the biggest challenges on the planet," said John E. Kelly III, executive vice president of IBM. Kelly, who participated in the FAO and Pontifical Academy's Sept. 24 virtual conference announcing the effort against hunger, was one of the signers of the Vatican's call for AI ethics in February. The Vatican's effort to promote ethical AI for social good includes a new program to use digital technology to ensure a more sustainable and efficient global food supply.