Using technology to help deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals

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Setting the scene

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the United Nations (UN) agency for information and communication technologies – innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) will be central to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And more generally, AI is set to have a significant impact on people’s lives and on how businesses operate. It’s therefore critical that government, industry, academia and civil society work together to understand the opportunities presented by AI, and ensure that AI benefits all of humanity.

It was against this background that the ITU organised the ‘AI for Good’ Global Summit in Geneva, Switzerland in June 2017. 

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“PwC has a deep understanding of what the SDGs mean for business, and comprehensive expertise in the application of AI to solve our clients’ problems. Bringing these together, we believe our tools and propositions will be very helpful in contributing to the mission of AI for Good, particularly in helping businesses realise the opportunities to grow whilst simultaneously making a positive societal contribution.”

Rob McCargow, PwC’s artificial intelligence programme leader

How we helped

As corporate sponsor of the Summit, PwC supported the United Nations to bring together a broad range of stakeholders – including many of the other UN agencies, expert AI technologists, NGOs, leading academics and industry – to explore how AI can help achieve the 17 SDGs and create a roadmap for future success.

At the event, PwC UK talked about its Responsible Technology Policy, launched in April 2017, and which sets out commitments and actions to ensure society reaps the benefits of the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution', as well as its Responsible AI framework, which PwC developed to strengthen businesses’ confidence in deploying AI solutions and trusting their outputs. The framework provides a mechanism for ensuring effective monitoring and stewardship of AI outcomes.

Impact

The discussions at the AI for Good summit underlined PwC’s desire to ensure AI benefits industry and society, as well as its role in helping to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including through our extensive work to help businesses navigate and prioritise the SDGs.