On Sep. 25 at the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres spotlighted, “Rapidly developing fields such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and biotechnology have the potential to turbocharge progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Artificial Intelligence is connecting people across languages, and supporting doctors in making better diagnoses. Driverless vehicles will revolutionize transportation. But there are also risks and serious dangers.”

These sentiments are echoed across the world and there are three global initiatives that are leading the way that are amplifying the rewards from AI:

  1. AI for Good Global Summit
  2. Focus Group AI for Health
  3. AI Pioneers

Let’s explore them in more detail.

AI for Good Global Summit

Founded in 2017, the first summit sparked the first ever inclusive global dialogue on beneficial AI and made history as the most successful summit ever by combining government, industry, academia, media, and civil society. It also seeded the spotlight within the entire UN family and inclusion by the UN Secretary General in his September address to the General Assembly.

The 2018 summit, grew even further with 148 speakers, 33 UN Agencies partners adding to the ACM and XPRIZE as partners – both years hosted by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN agency specializing in innovation, broad application of technologies and standards. The action-oriented 2018 summit focused on impactful AI solutions able to yield long-term benefits and help achieve the SDGs. It generated 35 AI for Good projects including the ITU-WHO Focus Group on AI for Health (https://itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/ai4h).

The 2019 summit aims to make the choice towards AI that is safe, inclusive and effective by connecting AI innovators, globally, with problem owners to identify practical applications of AI that can help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Focus Group AI for Health (FG-AI4H)

An outcome of AI for Good, FG-AI4H achieved a very successful first meeting Sept. 25-27.

AI can support medical and public health decision making however it is difficult to distinguish good from bad AI-based solutions.  The ITU established a Focus Group on “Artificial Intelligence for Health” (FG-AI4H) in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify opportunities for international standardization of AI for Health-relevant data, information, algorithms, and processes, which will foster the application of AI to health issues on a global scale. The outcome is a standardized assessment framework with open benchmarks for the evaluation of AI-based methods for health, such as AI-based diagnosis, triage or treatment decisions.

An immediate result from the September meeting is a Call for Proposals (CfP) to identify compelling use cases of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in strengthening health services and overarching health systems. Proposals should highlight the motivations behind an ‘AI for Health’ use case, the value of performance benchmarking in such cases, and the datasets required to train relevant AI algorithms. Proposals submitted before 7 November 2018 will be considered by the second meeting of the Focus Group in New York City, U.S., 14-16 November 2018. As noted by the group’s Chair, Thomas Wiegand, Executive Director of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and Professor at TU Berlin: “The Focus Group plans to establish a framework and associated processes for the performance evaluation of AI algorithms in health. This will be a complicated and challenging task, one we will undertake step-by-step, beginning with this first Call for Proposals.”

AI Pioneers

Completing the trifecta and again in September, AI Pioneers held their second meeting on Wall Street New York, Sept. 26. Mark Minevich led the forum as Executive Chair of AI Pioneers Forum/Circle bringing in his roles as member of the B20/G20 Digital Task Force, Sr. Fellow & Advisor UNOPS, Sr. Fellow, US Council on Competitiveness, Digital Fellow to CEO of IPsoft. IPSoft hosted the non-profit Forum.

The AI Pioneers Forum focuses on the ROI of AI. The target is to deliver a roadmap for the technology’s future by sharing the AI successes and challenges of leading global pioneers with perspectives from public sector, industry, academia and more. AI Pioneers is working on a draft and evolving digital manifesto on providing real returns on AI and objectives.

The output includes research and industry papers/blogs, best practice guidelines, opinion articles as well as the digital manifesto. The institute will also conduct baseline research on business use cases, roadmaps, benchmarks, maturity models, ROI Analysis within global organizations in North America, Europe and Asia/pacific.

Final

These three global initiatives: AI for Good, Focus Group AI for Health, and AI Pioneers are leaving a sizeable global stamp that echoes across all domains. The focus is on moving the needle in a practical way leveraging the $16 Trillion (ex PwC) wealth and new job creation by 2030 and the predicted adoption rates from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs report released September 2018. In the WEF report, across 12 industries, the adoption of machine learning and big data from 2018-22 is: 73% and 85% respectively. In Healthcare, the numbers are 87% for big data and 80% for machine learning.