The promise and pitfalls of artificial intelligence for global development
This week, as leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss how to “create a shared future in a fractured world,” many of the conversations will center on the role of humans and robots in a future of automation or augmentation.
The teaser for a breakfast conversation that Microsoft is hosting on the promise and pitfalls of artificial intelligence captures the challenges and the opportunity well: “AI offers profound potential benefits and the opportunity to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues including accelerating economic growth, tackling the urgent issues of environmental sustainability, and transforming healthcare,” it reads. “But the accelerating pace of technology-driven change is also creating disruption and anxiety. It risks contributing to a sense of a fractured world, between a small group of people who benefit and a broader group of people who fear that they are being left behind. We need to come together to chart a path forward that ensures AI contributes to building a positive shared future for every community.”
Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, the organization behind the annual meeting of global elites in Davos, describes the new era we are living in as the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” His latest book, published earlier this month and placed in goody bags for conference goers, looks at how we can shape the future we want to live in the midst of a rapid transformation. Together with partners from business and government, the global development community could play a critical role in ensuring that we maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of this technological revolution, and the World Economic Forum is recognizing this with a session for civil society leaders on emerging technologies.
Photo courtesy of Ars Electronica.