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ITU unveils AI platform to hasten community development

By , ITWeb
Africa , 02 Feb 2022
ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.
ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.

The United Nations (UN) tech agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU) yesterday launched an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform, which seeks to step up global collaboration on the use of AI to drive sustainable development.

The AI for Good Neural Network offers content and collaboration opportunities aligned to each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the UN, and is also designed to accelerate exchanges among government and industry to foster partnerships to achieve the SDGs.

The launch of the platform is part of the UN and ITU’s AI for Good programme, which seeks to step up the use and development of AI capabilities to develop communities globally.

The AI for Good programme is led by the ITU in partnership with 40 organisations across the UN system and provides an action-oriented, global, inclusive platform promoting AI to advance health, climate, gender, inclusive prosperity, sustainable infrastructure and other global development priorities.

With the unveiling of the AI for Good Neural Network, the ITU says it hopes to “stimulate unprecedented cooperation across borders and boundaries”, to foster impactful SDG-focused partnerships in the field of AI.

According to the ITU, its AI for Good programme has since helped “spur innovation, foster knowledge exchange and promote AI achievements” across the globe. It adds that with the AI for Good Neural Network, it hopes to attract those with an interest in how AI can positively impact the future of humankind.

“This new cutting-edge tool brings AI for Good to the service of the United Nations and our global community in ways that were not possible just a few years ago,” says ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.

“With the ongoing pandemic shifting our work and learning environments largely online, the Neural Network now leverages the power of AI to stimulate meaningful action, bring more partners aboard, and ramp up AI in pursuit of sustainable development.”

Chaesub Lee, director of ITU's standardisation bureau, adds: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) offer some highly-practical applications across multiple industries and sectors – applications with considerable potential to serve as a force for good.

“AI and ML are gaining ground in ITU's standardisation work, with research, analysis and stakeholder discussions focusing on network orchestration and management, multimedia coding, service quality assessment, and various aspects of telecom management, operation and services, as well as cable networks, all supporting accelerated digital transformation in key industry verticals."

Also, the ITU says it pre-standardisation initiatives have turned to AI to find solutions and help set standards for “better healthcare, autonomous and assisted driving, environmental efficiency, natural disaster management, machine learning in 5G networks and most recently, digital agriculture”.

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