ITU Blog: Preparing for an AI-driven society

Like major transformations before it, Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises to transform our lives and to lead us to a better world, while creating even greater impact for business and society.

First Robot 5s Shop Opens in China's Changsha

Photo by Zhong Zhenbin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Already, machines and programs that can sense, learn, reason, and act, are tackling large-scale global challenges in a variety of fields, including science, medicine, education, finance. They are augmenting human capability, and helping us to go exponentially farther and faster in the understanding of our world.

Fueled by improved algorithms, access to growing and massive data sets, ubiquitous network access, near infinite storage capacity and exponential computing power, AI is at the heart of much of today’s technical innovation. AI is a new factor of production, driving growth by providing intelligent automation and potential labor augmentation: Unlike traditional automation solutions, AI can help automate complex physical and reasoning tasks that require adaptability and self-learning; enabling workers to transition to more creative and innovative responsibilities.

Preparing for an AI-enabled future

Yet, while there is tremendous interest and momentum globally around AI to fuel economic growth and social progress, there is growing concern about the significant shift of reasoning and decision-making that may soon move from people to machines.

To clear the path for an AI-enabled future, we need to reinforce the role that humans will play. We need to advocate a code of ethics for AI, and ensure dialogue, practical standards and best practices in its development and use.

RELATED: Accelerating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through AI

We need to encourage smart regulations and oversight of AI, and make sure that the pace of technological change is accompanied by an equally fast regulatory response. We need policies that highlight and encourage the tangible benefits of AI, and the positive impact for every individual.

Finally, for AI to hold its promise, it needs to be accessible to everyone equally. Therefore, we need to make sure that the innovative tools, the data, and the technology, are available to everyone, in a democratic way.

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