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How Does AI Affect our Efforts in Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – Take Part in the Discussions

Published: September 21, 2023

Participants at the AI for Humanity and Society 2023 workshops. Photo: Charlotte Carlberg

Read more and register for the event

Is artificial intelligence (AI) helping or hindering us in realizing the United Nation’s (UN’s )Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? On October 4, Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program – Humanities and Society (WASP-HS) is organizing a national online event between leading researchers and representatives from the business sector. The registration for the event is now open.

By 2030, we must have achieved the UN’s SDGs. Some of these goals, totaling 17, mean that we shall abolish poverty, that all people shall work under good working conditions, that we shall combat climate change, and that we shall ensure that all people have access to clean water. But how does technology like AI affect this? Will AI make it harder for us to achieve these goals? How do we prevent those who already have resources from achieving goals more easily than those who don’t?

“Although AI can help us achieve these goals, it is important to recognize that AI can also exacerbate inequalities, threaten privacy and deepen the already existing digital divide. With the upcoming event, we are opening up for discussion between business and academia to allow multiple perspectives to be heard”, says Virginia Dignum, professor in responsible AI at Umeå University and program manager for WASP-HS.

In-Depth Discussions

During the event, three parallel discussions will be held, each discussion is led by researchers within WASP-HS and addresses different perspectives. The conversations will be around the use of data, and who’s data is needed in order to reach the UN’s SDGs, how we should go about making sure that the use of AI in relation to the SDGs does not only benefit rich nations with already gained resources, and last but not least AIs role in sustainable healthcare,

Ericka Johnsson, Professor of Gender Studies at Linköping University, says the following about the round table discussion she will be chairing: “AI is giving us a bouquet of new tools – which can be used to address sustainability issues, or not. But people are the agents in those practices. How can we nudge people, organizations and social institutions to use AI in line with the sustainability goals?”

Open Registration

WASP-HS welcomes both representatives from business and academics to participate in the discussions. All perspectives and voices are needed to get as good an overall picture of the situation as possible. Register for the event to take part in the discussions.

Summary Report

After the event, the discussions are summarized in a report that will be published on the WASP-HS website later in the fall. The report will be available to read for anyone interested.