Focused on 3 Sustainable Development Goals, the Future Here Summit invited social good doers, innovators and artists to re-imagine a new Renaissance – one involving technology.

Horyou team presenting the social network for social good to the Future Here Summit audience. Image Credits to Anna Rosa Paladino for TIAC Academy.

Let’s fast forward and think of a world without inequalities, where innovation is a core element in all enterprises and society is built on partnerships for good. This is not Utopia – all the aforementioned scenarios actually come under three of seventeen United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

The 3 SDGs – Reduced Inequalities; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Partnership to Achieve the Goals – , were the main focus of the Future Here Summit, an event focused on re-imagining the next generations from a ‘Renaissance’ viewpoint. Unsurprisingly, Florence, birthplace of the eponymous artistic avant-garde movement, was the venue. While addressing issues including Augmented Intelligence, Energy, Nature, Sustainable Development and Education, the event had both on-site and virtual panels and sessions, whereby artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries and academics were invited to exchange ideas and expectations for the future.

Horyou, the social network for social good, contributed to one of the sessions with an inspiring presentation of its role in empowering change-makers. Speaking for Horyou, Sueyfer Velásquez, Social Media and Partnerships Manager, introduced the network to a diverse and curious audience. «It’s a very powerful experience to share our vision for a better world in the birthplace of Renaissance», she said. Seizing the opportunity, Sueyfer went on to introduce HoryouToken, the first digital currency for economic inclusion and advancement of the SDGs, along with HoryouTV and SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, which will take place on 18-19 September, in Tokyo, Japan.

In addition to the conferences, the Future Here Summit incorporated Orbit, a dedicated incubator for the development of «experiential wisdom tools and businesses» where art, science and businesses were welcome to help promote inclusive growth.

To governments, international institutions and the scientific community, Artificial Intelligence represents hope for sustainability and quality of life for all. The 3rd edition of the AI For Good Global Summit, a yearly event organized by the International Telecommunication Union’s, a UN agency, will be held in Geneva on 28-31 May to discuss the role of AI for Social Development and Social Good. Horyou blog spoke with the Head of the Strategic Engagement Division of ITU, Frederic Werner, about the expected outcome of this initiative.

AI for Good Summit will take place in Geneva from 28-31 May

How can AI help society to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?

AI has enormous potential to help accelerate progress towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by capitalizing on the unprecedented quantities of data being now generated in all areas, including human health, education, commerce, communications, migration and much more. Leaders in AI and humanitarian action are convening on the neutral platform offered by the United Nations to work towards AI improving the quality and sustainability of life on our planet.

It’s the 3rd edition of the AI for Good Global Summit. What has changed since the first edition?

The 2017 summit marked the beginning of a global dialogue on the potential of AI to act as a force for good. The action-oriented 2018 summit gave rise to numerous ‘AI for Good’ projects, including an ‘AI for Health’ Focus Group, now led by ITU and the World Health Organization (WHO). The 2019 summit will continue to connect AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers, building collaboration to maximize the impact of ‘AI for Good’.

Could you mention some of the educational tools the Summit will offer to its participants?

The AI for Good Learning day will take place on Friday 31 May. It is made up of workshops, tutorials, and educational sessions through three full-fledged tracks targeting businesses, the public sector and youth. The participants will learn about the latest AI trends, use cases and solutions to major societal challenges.

Horyou is a media partner of AI for Good Global Summit.

Venture capital is looking more into your company’s sustainability performance

Impact investing: money with purpose

Sustainability in general, and The UN Sustainable Development Goals in particular, make for good business. And some investors have recognized that for quite some time – since 2004, to be precise. When the UN started conversations with a number of global stock exchange operators, corporate social responsibility hit the radars of listed corporations. In 2012, Nasdaq (USA), B3 (Brazil), Johannesburg Stock Exchange (South Africa), Borsa Istanbul (Turkey) and The Egyptian Exchange made a public commitment to advance sustainability in their markets. It was the first step in the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative (SSE), a UN-led global movement which now counts more than 80 members from all continents.

In the past few years, the SDGs have boosted the discussion on corporate sustainability and the role of companies in building a better business culture with a stronger positive impact on society. More importantly, the SDGs were eventually adopted by many companies to be an integral part of their sustainability plans as a major performance target. Since then, a number of studies have related SDGs to business performance, proving that gender equality, investments on education and fair wages lead to a more competitive society and, thus, to more sustainable businesses.

More recently, venture capitalists have been looking more closely into sustainability practices before deciding which companies to invest in. With the help of UN agencies, Social venture funds and social impact-driven investors networks were set up to prompt companies into improving their CSR practices while pursuing their profit-making operations. The recently launched UNDP SDG Impact program is a good example of how to channel private investment and capital to meet the SDGs, via providing funders with roadmaps and data on the best investment plans.

Initiatives like HoryouToken are also a worthwhile alternative for all investors to consider, from big corporations to private investors, owing to its Blockchain technology which provides transparency and traceability with proof of impact, resonating with the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainability is now. It’s profitable, it can help change the world and build better times for all.

Artificial Intelligence means new perspectives for governments and corporations… and everybody else

Technology has answered many humanitarian challenges, trying to foster inclusion at a pace that was unimaginable only a few decades back

After years of covering some of the most important technology events in the world, I was happy to witness the rising of AI for Good. While 2018 saw a burgeoning approach to Artificial Intelligence as it became the central theme of a few panels in major global forums and conferences or a key resource in innovative projects developed by a still modest yet resilient number of blue chip corporations, 2019 has obviously given the subject its momentum. AI is a market expected to grow from USD 21.46 Billion in 2018 to USD 190.61 Billion by 2025, and AI for good seems to be the new frontier to explore, according to a McKinsey studyFrom startups to established tech operators and from governments to social entrepreneurs, it suddenly seemed like the whole tech industry was finally on the right launch pad to propose devices and services that improve both our lives and natural or manmade environments and, ultimately, preserve the planet.

Education is one of the industries that have been positively impacted by AI and has potential to grow 38% per year, reaching an approximate market value of 2 billion USD by 2023. Gamification, along with assessment and tutoring programs are being widely implemented by corporations and governments to boost learning ratios, even in remote impoverished or isolated communities while reducing costs and, eventually, helping attain the related UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4). Now quality education seems indeed a reachable objective where it is most needed. Robots are taking center stage in educational projects, whether to teach students about coding and AI or to coach them, thus improving their level of interest in technology-related topics.

For governments, AI has proven effective in security projects, helping cities to secure big events through improved surveillance, using connected devices including drones, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices to better control road traffic or the air quality. Cities like Barcelona and São Paulo have been forerunners in that regard, while making sure their policies meet the aims of the related UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG11), specifically recommending the implementation of smart city policies.

Another major concern relating to sustainable development being population welfare, especially regarding food security, smart farming strategies are at the center of many country agricultural sustainable improved productivity programs, one of the biggest concerns of our times. AI for farming, include IoT, is a promising market and, only in the US, is adopted by 250,000 farmers, who are collectively spending almost 1 billion USD. And that’s in line with the UN SDG2. Producing food for an ever-increasing population in times of dramatically severe climate change certainly is the ultimate challenge of our society – and AI is indeed offering a highly estimated contribution. Companies that monitor crops and livestock, and those that are in the business of optimizing the efficiency of health plans, are part of the same trend, which otherwise rely on complex microclimate predicting algorithms and communication tools reaching out to farmers, providing them with more accurate information.

In a nutshell, AI for Good is good. In times when competitiveness, productivity and transparency are inevitably defined in terms of sustainability, they have no other option but to be intrinsically connected to smart, clean and socially impactful devices and services. Technology has answered many humanitarian challenges, trying to foster inclusion at a pace that was unimaginable only a few decades back. It is now the appropriate time to look at AI, as well as at its developers, and consider them as allies in the process of shaping a better world.

Join us! If you want to showcase your product, service or project in AI for Good, apply to speak at SIGEF 2019.

Launched in 2010, the GGEI measures the green performance of nations and their commitment to environmental issues. Horyou blog interviewed its developer and founder, Jeremy Tamanini, who talked about the importance of measuring sustainable development performance and about the countries that are setting an example.

Jeremy Tamanini

What does GGEI stand for?

The GGEI stands for the Global Green Economy Index, the largest integrated measure of national green performance and how experts assess it. The word “integrated” is important as the GGEI takes a multi-dimensional view of these economies, showing how climate change performance, sector decarbonization, green markets and the environment interact. This approach is critical today because we can no longer look at growth through traditional metrics like GDP. Rather, we need to develop new approaches that begin to explain how growth is tied to carbon emissions, how clean (or dirty) sectors are, capital flows and limited and fragile environmental resources.

How did the GGEI evolve since its launching in 2010? Also looking at this 9-year series of data, what is the level of improvement among countries when it comes to sustainable development?

A lot has changed in 8 years in terms of data availability and the sophistication through which frameworks like the GGEI can be calculated. This includes the GGEI framework and methodology, which have also evolved during this period. That said, some trends exist: the Nordics have the best overall green performance; most African countries have relatively low carbon footprints but poor environmental performance; few countries exhibiting unusually high GDP growth do so with parallel improvements in their green economy; and “developed” countries are generally reducing emissions, but not fast enough to reach targets set through international agreements.

Which one of the dimensions of the GGEI is the most challenging? Why?

In terms of calculation, the Leadership & Climate Change dimension is the most challenging, mostly due to the qualitative indicators within in. These qualitative indicators include heads of state, media and international forums and the extent to which countries show commitments to green economic growth. Measuring these topics depends on “unstructured” datasets derived from text analysis of reporting or other information that we believe best gives a proxy measure of the topic at hand. In terms of performance improvement, I believe that the Environment dimension is the most challenging for countries, particularly in the “developing world” where large segments of the population depend directly on these environmental resources for their economic livelihoods.

What countries are best-positioned at the GGEI? Why?

Sweden (consistent green leadership, relatively carbon-efficient economy, strong green innovation and environmental stewardship); Costa Rica (consistent green leadership, high level of renewable energy integration to the economy, strong environmental stewardship); Taiwan (strength around renewable energy, clean transport and green innovation) and Colombia (strength around renewable energy and corporate sustainability).

How can AI help countries develop a greener economy?

This is a question we are beginning to explore. In the realm of the GGEI, it is possible that AI could sharpen the insights from unstructured datasets like the ones described as part of the Leadership & Climate Change dimension. Or, it may be able to process real-time data linked to topics like air quality more rapidly. Out in the green economy overall, there are already many fascinating applications in new companies and initiatives, ranging from analyzing and interpreting unstructured ESG datasets (TruValue Labs); mapping global biodiversity through networks of citizen scientists (iNaturalist); electrical grid optimization (Agder Energi); and automatic weed removal in agriculture (Blue River).

On International Women’s Day, Horyou pays a tribute to the women members of our community running non-profit organizations and social good projects around the world

Think about an organization you know – be it a big NGO or a small neighbourhood project -, and you’ll surely single out a woman in charge of some of its most important tasks. According to a study of the White House Project, unlike almost all other industries and job positions in many a country whereby gender gap is the rule, in the non-profit sector women represent around 75% of all workforce (including volunteers).

Our Horyou community is mere testimony of its many women members engagement and how they strive to make the world a better place. Here are just a few examples:

Maria Guzmán

Maria Guzman, Fundación Somos VidaCreated in 2012, this non-profit organization is based in Venezuela with the main project to support children with cancer while providing them with psychological support and the much-needed treatment. The foundation also plays an important role in promoting fundamental human rights through consulting and assessment. María is a frequent international speaker, including SIGEF, and a true social good promoter.

Souad Dibi, Association Féminine de Bienfaisance El-Khir

Souad Dibi

Based in Morocco, the association provides legal and educational support to women and children. Their main goal is to improve their condition, empowering and helping them out of their vulnerable conditions to achieve economic integration and promote cultural exchanges. Souad Dibi was a panelist on Women Empowerment at SIGEF 2016 which took place in Marrakesh,.

Pierrette Cazeau, Haiti Cholera Research Foundation

Pierrette Cazeau

This NGO was founded in 2013 and is an active member of the Horyou community. Pierrette has developed many projects to support and empower communities facing health and social problems in her home country Haiti, through HIV prevention programs for youth, and health care support and information on sensitive topics including sexual abuse. Pierrette plans to extend the NGO actions to other countries, namely to Ghana, Africa.

Marie Louise Kongne, Water Energy and Sanitation for Development The Cameroonese NGO has developed a remarkable work among people without access to sustainable drinking water supply. Marie Louise leads a committed team of workers who educate the population in the rural areas of North Cameroon in such issues as sustainable management of water resources. The organization also promotes training to health workers in Cameroon,

Silvana Andrade, ANDA

Silvana Andrade

Silvana is the president of ANDA, the largest Brazilian news agency for animal rights. A fierce and committed member of our Horyou community, she and her team have helped to raise awareness of traditional media in the past 10 years, along with advocating for causes including the end of rodeo shows and changing pet transportation policies in airlines.

There are many other social entrepreneurs and social good doers among our members, personalities and organizations. Pick your favorite causes and connect for good with them on Horyou. Be the change, be Horyou!

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