The Power of Artificial Intelligence in Accelerating Sustainable Development Goals

The world is shifting toward advanced technological development, and Artificial intelligence is one of them. This advanced technology can play a massive role in advancing health, climate change, agriculture, and transport sectors to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In simple words, Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence demonstrated by machines where the machine is a program like a human brain and mimics their actions. In other words, it is a simulation of human intelligence in devices by which it can act like a human brain. AI simulates human intelligence by using algorithms to understand human goals or methods for achieving them; thus, it can save much time for humans. The ability of AI to perform human actions through extracting knowledge has piqued the interest of research groups and top-tier organizations. This area of research has seen the most growth in recent years, decades when contrasted with any other advanced technology. 


Importance of Artificial Intelligence

AI can bring about large-scale improvements and transformation in areas such as health, agriculture, and education by accelerating innovation and enterprise creation, delivering government services to citizens, and lowering the cost of public service and critical infrastructure operation.

The importance of AI is increasing day by day. But its significance was more visible to the world at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the help of AI technology, vaccines are developed quickly. The global community’s effort to create effective vaccines within a year of the virus’s discovery was genuinely remarkable, and these and other treatments have dramatically reduced the virus’s fatality rate. This is due to scientists’ brilliance, perseverance, and creativity worldwide. However, they were not working alone: AI also played an important role.

Moderna’s co-founder Noubar Afeyan stated that medicine to become more pre-emptive than reactionary. He mentioned that with the help of AI, it would be possible to determine the disease early and delay it, which can save costs at the same time, will have more impact. This is how AI contributes by solving significant challenges and accelerating discoveries by saving time for scientists. 


The Interconnection of Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Development Goals

The development practitioners are finding a way to solve the global problems and achieve sustainable development goals by 2030. It is already 2022, and we have less than ten years to complete the SDG goals. 

There are many countless examples of how AI advances could better comprehend Good health and well-being (SDG3), accelerate agri-tech to help farmers end food poverty and malnutrition (SDG2), and transition to sustainable cities and communities (SDG11) along with many other potential advantages for the other SDGs. 



AI in agriculture is rapidly expanding, allowing farmers to improve crop yield, direct machines, and equipment to perform tasks independently, and detect pesticides before they happen.

The child-growth monitor employs machine learning techniques to identify malnutrition and enhance its effectiveness as more data is gathered. Processing such data and algorithms locally on a phone or tablet rather than on the server could be beneficial in developing countries and contexts where internet connectivity is limited while also improving user privacy. As a result, AI can help fill information gaps, identify interrelationships, and forecast challenges and vulnerabilities. It can help to strengthen expertise in the field and monitoring and control.



We have seen AI technology driving advancements in other areas of healthcare, such as cancer and malaria screening. Google Health, DeepMind, the NHS, Northwestern University, and Imperial colleagues created and trained an AI model to detect breast cancer in X-ray images.



As cities and countries work to reduce the impact of air pollution and improve infrastructure, developing sustainable and intelligent transportation systems will be critical. AI has driven a revolution in transportation and mobility over the last century, from self-driving cars to ride-sharing apps and route developers. AI is already being used to improve public transportation systems, mitigate traffic in the city, and enhance security. 


Overcoming Challenges

Like every other thing, AI also has its challenges. One of the significant challenges is ensuring data privacy. In the country context, ensuring safeguarding and effectively implementing government framework through AI is questionable. Although AI is used globally, it is impertinent to protect the general people from the negative consequences of AI. Sometimes AI can create unconscious bias, and misinformation may lead to wrong decisions. Therefore, before using AI, the risks need to be taken into consideration and make a balance between the two. We must ensure that AI is employed in trusted, transparent, and inclusive ways. The World Economic Forum’s Global AI Action Alliance brings together over 100 big corporations, government entities, intergovernmental groups, non-profits, and academic researchers who have pledged to ensure maximum AI’s societal benefits outweigh its risks.


Lastly, the next generation of AI will unlock previously unimaginable technological and thus development possibilities. Therefore, we need to ensure AI is developed in a positive and ethical manner and put in place good practices so that it can be fully adopted and used by citizens and governments. We must collaborate to ensure that artificial intelligence can help us accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals and help to achieve them by 2030.


Photo: Funtap/Shutterstock



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