Leverage new tech opportunities for SDGs achievement in Africa UNDP in Africa


The Assistant Secretary General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, called on African countries to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchains and machine learning, and deploy these in various sectors for the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She made the call during a panel session at a side event at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) in Yokohama, Japan. The event, titled "From Idea to Action: Harnessing the Potential of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa's Development", was organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank. Ms. Eziakonwa noted that, Africa needs to harness the potential of STI for development by prioritizing policies and making investments to increase access to state-of-the-art technologies such as e-governance, finance and digital literacy and skills – at secondary and TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) level. She called for the adoption of innovative financing schemes that combine both public and private sector resources and technical expertise for the achievement of the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environment.

Artificial Intelligence and the UNDP


I have commented before that the topic of AI Safety should be equally as much about ensuring the field of artificial intelligence is working for important goals such as climate change or reducing inequality. In this regard I find the UNDP strategy of interest. UNDP works to eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities through the sustainable development of nations. This mission is being carried out in more than 170 countries and territories. Quite recently the UNDP launched its digital strategy for 2019–2021.

Let's talk about artificial intelligence UNDP


Unless you have been living under a rock, you are bound to have heard either how AI will be the end of all humanity (Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk), or the solution to its biggest challenges. After decades of hype, AI (artificial intelligence) has arrived. We've been trying to learn from those who have used or explored AI across a range of policy issues that the UN works on – from cutting down costs and time in public services and providing humanitarian assistance based on real-time movement of people, to capturing consumption patterns at micro-levels. Our explorations of AI are in line with UNDP's new Strategic Plan, which emphasizes that innovation has a central role in fulfilling the organization's mission and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. By applying leading-edge thinking and advances such as AI, we can help countries make faster progress on the Goals.

Sophia - Hanson Robotics Ltd.


Sophia is Hanson Robotics' latest and most advanced robot to date and a cultural icon. She has become a media darling, appearing on major media outlets around the world, igniting the interest of people regardless of age, gender, and culture, even gracing the cover of one of the top fashion magazines. Her press coverage has a potential reach of over ten billion readers in 2017. Sophia is a highly sought-after speaker in business and showed her prowess and great potential across many industries. She has met face-to-face with key decision makers in banking, insurance, auto manufacturing, property development, media, and entertainment.

Assessing National Development Plans for Alignment With Sustainable Development Goals via Semantic Search

AAAI Conferences

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) helps countries implement the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an agenda for tackling major societal issues such as poverty, hunger, and environmental degradation by the year 2030. A key service provided by UNDP to countries that seek it is a review of national development plans and sector strategies by policy experts to assess alignment of national targets with one or more of the 169 targets of the 17 SDGs. Known as the Rapid Integrated Assessment (RIA), this process involves manual review of hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of documents and takes weeks to complete. In this work, we develop a natural language processing-based methodology to accelerate the workflow of policy experts. Specifically we use paragraph embedding techniques to find paragraphs in the documents that match the semantic concepts of each of the SDG targets. One novel technical contribution of our work is in our use of historical RIAs from other countries as a form of neighborhood-based supervision for matches in the country under study. We have successfully piloted the algorithm to perform the RIA for Papua New Guinea’s national plan, with the UNDP estimating it will help reduce their completion time from an estimated 3-4 weeks to 3 days.

Disruption (ERP3.0) on Flipboard


The Future Digital Economy is ERP3 In technology or at least the application and security areas I sit within, acronyms are everywhere,...

Artificial intelligence and the future of our work UNDP


Marking the coming of the fourth industrial revolution, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) is permeating every major industry from healthcare to transportation, education, finance and insurance. The McKinsey Global Institute (pdf) says that AI is contributing to a transformation of society "happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale or at roughly 3,000 times the impact" of the Industrial Revolution.