Thursday, July 18, 2024

A new intelligence paradigm – How the emerging use of technology can achieve sustainable development


Every new year offers an opportunity for reflection. It is a time to set new goals and revisit old ones. The start of 2021, then, represents a chance to look at successes and failures in meeting the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Since the United Nations General Assembly set these goals six years ago, the SDGs have served as a guide for what the world needs to achieve a “better and more sustainable future for all”.

There has been progress on all 17 goals, which target poverty, health, and inequality around the globe. Nonetheless, the work remains slow and uneven, hampered by low political will, resource constraints and the Covid-19 pandemic. With the agenda’s 2030 deadline looming, the moment is right to ask if new tools and techniques can be used to accelerate progress. New technologies may provide innovative ways to organize human action.

This month, the GovLab and the French Development Agency (AFD) released a report looking at precisely these possibilities. “Emerging Uses of Technology for Development: A New Intelligence Paradigm” examines how development practitioners are experimenting with emerging forms of technology to advance development goals. It considers when practitioners might turn to these tools and provides some recommendations to guide their application.

Broadly, the report concludes that experiments with new technologies in development have produced value and offer opportunities for progress. These technologies – which include data intelligence, artificial intelligence, collective intelligence, and embodied intelligence tools – are associated with different prospective benefits and risks. It is essential they be informed by design principles and practical considerations. Read more…

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