Back in 2015, in order to protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity for all, the UN established 17 SDGs as part of its 2030 Agenda in the hope that companies and governments around the world would adopt them and participate in solving a variety of pressing global problems that include everything from climate change and poverty, to equality and famine.
The teams new project called “Engineering as a Facilitator of SDGs: Artificial intelligence and disruptive digital technologies” began back in March 2020 and focuses specifically on finding new ways to “use AI and digital technologies” to help solve the SDGs.
The teams organised their research into three parts – firstly, an introduction to AI and digital technologies, secondly analysis of their application to the SDGs, and thirdly recommendations for action that can help develop projects and support the achievement of associated goals.
As part of their research the authors reviewed the specialised scientific literature, including over a thousand bibliographical references relevant to the 169 targets that have been set to achieve the SDGs.
The project aims to “make an important contribution to our understanding of the analytical capacity of engineering under the umbrella of AI and digitalisation in support of the SDGs” and “address the challenges faced by the world economy and society in the 21st Century.” It also aims to provide insights into the three dimensions that characterise “sustainability,” namely the economic, social, and environmental ones.
One of the conclusions of the research so far is the need for different organisations to share data sets that are “unified, accessible, and open, as this supports the development of projects designed to address many of the global challenges,” and that “Governments and companies must converge toward this objective by generating and sharing data that allow them to successfully take on projects and design solutions to address the SDGs.”
The researchers also point out that it’s imperative to strengthen the links between science and engineering, industry and governments, to reinforce dialogue and expand the different avenues toward achieving high-quality data.
“The SDGs set targets to be achieved at the global level but not all countries and regions of the world are currently in the same position in this race to achieve them. So, the application of AI and digital technologies must obviously be adapted to the situation of each country and targeted at the most pressing SDGs,” the authors explain.
“[Digital technologies] are advancing at a rapid pace which means it is important to look for alternative ways to measure the achievement of the SDGs, ways that are adapted to this accelerated pace of progress and the emergence of new digital paradigms,” they add, “This is especially important given the current world scenario caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has undoubtedly had a profound impact on all dimensions of the SDGs, far beyond the strictly health related aspects.”
Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series.
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