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While artificial intelligence is all around us this year, are we only making good use of it, or are we using it for good as well?

According to a study that sought to identify how artificial intelligence is being used and can potentially be employed in the future to achieve the UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), there is an imbalance in the way of coverage with SDG 9 (Industry Innovation and Infrastructure) having the highest representation (with 50.3% of our data containing references to it) compared to SDGs 5, 6, 14, and 15, which have the lowest representation (5% of observed data).

Read more: Big tech & chatbot mania: Where will it end?

Findings from this study suggest that the development of artificial intelligence technology is focused on improving the current economic growth, but it might neglect important societal and environmental issues.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t instances of AI for good. Environmental issues are a big recipient of AI infused ideas to make the planet a friendlier place. For example, Scientists and conservationists are using a combination of drones, artificial intelligence and cloud to learn more about the threatened species of M?ui dolphins in the South Pacific.

Environmental issues are a big recipient of AI infused ideas to make the planet a friendlier place

Using an underwater robot called Icefin beneath a fast melting ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists have discovered new insight into how it is melting. The findings will help in identifying the threat such ice shelves pose for long-term sea-level rise.

Open Ocean Engineering, a Hong Kong based startup, has created Clearbot Neo, an AI-enabled robotic boat that autonomously gathers tons of floating garbage from waterways.

Last year, Yale University researchers created a robot that can transform its limbs into flippers via an “adaptive morphogenesis” method when shifting from land to sea. ART (Amphibious Robot Turtle) fulfils the lack of adaptability in current robot design methods.

The Singapore National Parks Board (NParks), Microsoft and Conservation International launched Fin Finder, Asia’s first mobile app that uses artificial intelligence to visually identify illegally traded shark and ray species.

Big tech is in on the AI for good action too, if for nothing else, for good publicity. AI-Mimi, an innovative pairing between human input and the power of Microsoft Azure Cognitive Service, is building inclusive TV experiences for deaf and hard of hearing users in Japan.

Chatbots have gathered a naughty aura because of the strange responses they give, often biased and sexist. But they’ve much good to do too

India is strong on artificial intelligence, as shown by this year’s Union Budget. Recently, SEEDS, a New Delhi-based disaster response and preparedness non-profit organization has developed an artificial intelligence model to predict the impact of multiple hazards like cyclones, earthquakes or heat waves in any given area. The model, called Sunny Lives, which was built with the support of Microsoft’s artificial intelligence for Humanitarian Action grant, generates heat wave risk information for some 125,000 people living in Delhi’s slums.

In December, Google India announced a US$1 million grant to IIT Madras for conducting research in different aspects of bias in AI.

Chatbots have gathered a naughty aura because of the strange responses they give, often biased and sexist. But they’ve much good to do too.

Read more: Artificial intelligence 2023: For those who want more with less

Olga Beregovaya, the VP of artificial intelligence and Machine Translation at Smartling says, “We’ll continue to see advancements with artificial intelligence technology like Open AI to drive independent human interaction and artificial intelligence training itself to better adapt to human responses. In the customer service space specifically, businesses will forego the method of human interaction to allow artificial intelligence technology to take the place of call centers and human operators”.

Chat-GPT has proven this right.

She also says that text-only services will soon go to mixed media services, “Implementation of artificial intelligence will go beyond written content on a page. Advancements now allow artificial intelligence to train itself on images and audio data to create contextual content. This will be a big priority for businesses when it comes to content creation as part of their localization strategy with the burden of busy work for translators being reduced.”


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