INTERVIEW | From the AI ​​for Good Summit to the Future Summit 

ИНТЕРВЬЮ | От Саммита «ИИ во благо» – к «Саммиту будущего» 

The AI ​​for Good summit is taking place these days in Geneva. INTERVIEW | From the AI ​​for Good Summit to the Future Summit  Economic development

The Global Summit “Artificial Intelligence for Good”, organized by the International Telecommunication Union, is taking place in Geneva these days. Forum participants are developing principles and frameworks for the use of artificial intelligence. On the sidelines of the summit, UN News Service spoke with Robert Opp, Chief Digital Officer of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 

UN News Service: Artificial intelligence is the talk of the town and around the world these days. Could you please tell us how UNDP sees the use of AI and related technologies for development around the world?? Are you already using any of these technologies in practice?? 

Robert Opp: Yes, we see huge opportunities to use AI technologies across a wide range of sectors and across different aspects of people’s work. Small businesses gain new skills, people learn new languages, they can easily translate documents and interact with others around the world. New business models and new opportunities are emerging. We see a lot of room for growth. 

We have quite a few AI projects in our organization. For example, we provide support to countries during elections: we have an AI-powered platform that looks for signs of disinformation and then flags suspicious content for human fact-checking. We also work in areas such as tuberculosis detection and screening. There are many different types of applications that UNDP is already implementing in this area, and we see huge potential for growth. 

UN News Service : What risks should governments, as well as ordinary AI users, consider?

Robert Opp:When introducing any technology, we must ensure that people and their rights are at the center of everything we do. That is, we need to learn to predict whether a particular technological innovation may have a negative impact on people, and, if so, create appropriate protective measures on the ground. At the country level, this most often means having robust data protection and privacy policies in place. Artificial intelligence is only as good as the data it uses, and AI uses a lot of personal data. 

We at UNDP actively engage with partner countries to use of new technologies. We have a holistic vision of the challenges facing us, there is huge positive potential, but we must make sure that we can ensure that mistakes are not made. 

ИНТЕРВЬЮ | От Саммита «ИИ во благо» – к «Саммиту будущего» 

UN News Service: Is there any discussion going on at the UN level and in the global community with private partners and companies about how to set rules for the use of AI and other new digital technologies? 

Robert Opp:The AI ​​for Good Summit we’re currently at is a very important part of the stakeholder engagement process. This is a very multifaceted process. Everyone is represented here: the private sector, civil society, the public sector… This year we are all preparing for the “Future Summit”. An important part of the summit is devoted to the development of a global digital treaty. Member states are already actively discussing what directions to move in. We hope that a global digital compact will be adopted at the Future Summit this year. 

UN News Service: What of the areas of application of AI, in your opinion, are the most promising? 

Robert Opp: Artificial intelligence has enormous potential, but it is not available to everyone right now. There are several countries with great technical potential, and they are rushing forward. Our task is to make sure that no one is left behind. This is a key position of the UN system. We need to make sure that countries with the capacity to use new technologies have access to the data they need. This is where the UN comes into play. We want technology, including artificial intelligence, to benefit all humanity so that no one is left behind. 

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UN News Service: Which events at the current summit, in your opinion, are especially important?

Robert Opp:Leading figures from various fields take part in the forum. For example, Sam Altman [CEO of OpenAI and Founder of ChatGPT] will be speaking here. In addition, the floor will be presented to scientists – such as Stuart Russell, a leading developer in the field of artificial intelligence, as well as to politicians who are responsible for pursuing digital policies in their countries. The importance of this event is to bring all these people together, give them the opportunity to speak and talk to each other. 

UN News Service: Discussion Topic on The summit brings together not only people, but also robots. They will also be part of this process. Are you going to listen to their opinion or maybe even try to hire one of them to work for UNDP?

Robert Opp : We look forward to introducing new technologies for the benefit of people. If robots can help us with this, then we will involve them too. But let’s not forget that the main thing is to put the interests of people first.

UN News Service: That is, humanity should not be afraid of robots? We are going to use them to our advantage, but not to replace ourselves?

Robert Opp: I’m not worried about the “killer robots” topic in the short term. I think we need to focus on empowering people to use advanced technologies to create new jobs and new business models that can benefit everyone on the planet. 


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