UN’s AI for Good Global Summit 2024 Humanizes AI

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The UN AI for Good Global Summit 2024 in Geneva showed the many avenues to which technology can contribute, demystifying it for the average person in the process.

  • During the Summit 2024, many companies presented their innovations, ranging from toddler-sized football players to affordable prosthetics for children.
  • Beyond the fun, there were talks about the downside of AI, including disinformation, as the event sought to educate the attendees on all aspects of AI.

The UN AI for Good Global Summit 2024 showcased all the wonders of AI, from robotic football players to accessible prosthetics, proving to the masses that AI is improving lives.

People seem to be talking more about how AI will doom us all than about how it will enhance our lives. And subjecting ourselves to this type of narrative consistently forces us in one way or another to catastrophize the situation and demonize the technology. Truth be told, AI, if used properly, could very well be on its way to becoming man’s digital best friend.

The AI for Good Global Summit 2024 opened its doors in Geneva to the masses, inviting them to come see all the wonders that AI has enabled. According to a UN News article, the forum, organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), people were looking forward to the event, so much so they oversubscribed for attendance. The queue, in fact, stretched along one of the city’s biggest conference centers. The attendees even almost killed the internet connection at the Geneva AI conference.

Innovation as Far as the Eye Can See

The Global Summit 2024 put on display various AI-based solutions, some more fun than others. Starting strong with an AI robot football team. These, quite frankly adorable, little guys were the brainchildren of a group of University of ETH Zurich students. The team passed and followed the ball using sensors. The project’s scientific supervisor, Jan-Nico, Zaech expressed how it “our undergraduate and graduate students to collect experience on a full robotic platform.” the project also acts as “a platform to test algorithms that can run in the real world afterwards.”

On the more practical side of things, creations from the AI for Good Innovation Factory were also displayed.

Bioniks, a Pakistani start-up creating affordable bionic limbs, demonstrated its affordable prosthetics for amputees, including children.

Chief Visionary Officer, Anas Niaz, told UN News that their method—which uses a smartphone, brain-controlled technology, and a simplified fitting process— reduces costs for the patients. Their design allows you to forgo the hospital and fit it at home. “These prosthetics are waterproof, and people in humid climate can use them for practically anything. Kids are writing with them,” Mr. Niaz explained.

Because Fun Sometimes Needs Rules

It’s important to show how non-threatening the technology is. But like everything else in this world, people need to be aware of its limitations. In her opening speech at the AI for Good Global Summit, ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin shared how incredible this technology can be but did not forget what comes with AI, including disinformation.

Bogdan-Martin announced ITU’s commitment to developing robust standards for AI watermarking and digital content verification, stating, “Standards build trust; they’re the cornerstone of responsible AI.”

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is already utilizing AI to identify and combat misinformation during elections, enhancing the integrity of electoral processes.

A Well-Rounded Approach

Over the last couple of years, the industry has made sure to discuss in large how to legislate AI and what else they can do with it. However, it was rare for it to be summits that cater to the average person and include them in the discourse. At the end of the day, they are the demographic most impacted by AI. And that’s what the AI for Good Global Summit is really doing. It gives people a chance to interact with the technology and the various ways it is improving lives. They educated and cautioned the masses, all while keeping them entertained, because sometimes education needs to be a little fun.

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