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!

While many companies are still pursuing blind profits, these businesses are following the path of circular economy, transparency and technology for good

Doing Good, Doing Well is Horyou’s Media Partner

Do you know what your clothes are made of? Maybe of cotton obtained from monoculture fields, full of pesticides, or of organic hemp or cotton more environmentally friendly? You would probably know if it’s the latter – companies that walk the ‘green’ walk are making an effort to communicate to customers about their sustainable practices.

Companies like Patagonia, the apparel industry that, for decades, has invested in fair trade, sustainable supply chain and recycling projects, are examples of a growing business trend where transparency and commitment to the planet are the rules, while good revenues are a natural consequence. Ryan Gellert, general manager of Patagonia for Europe, was one of the executives invited to share his experience during the Doing Good, Doing Well (DGDW) conference, Europe’s biggest event on responsible businesses. Organized by MBA students of IESE Business School, the event took place in Barcelona, Spain, on 4-5 March.

Gellert’s keynote about Climate Crisis and the Role of Businesses went about the importance of being socially responsible not only as a business but about providing good quality jobs for employees and vendors, promoting thoughtful consumption among clients and pursuing carbon neutrality. It also went as a committed promoter of change. Besides the main apparel business, Patagonia has invested in documentaries about nature, has set a venture capital to support green businesses and has a project for grassroots environmental activists, among other social good actions. Gellert stressed the importance of consumers, employees and civil society to make changes through decisions like purchasing a product or applying for a job. “Individuals need to act and not only be someone who just falls into a path that was designed for them”, he said.

Another company that has shown its commitment to the future was Schneider Electric, represented by its Chief Strategy Officer, Emmanuel Lagarrigue. The company has developed many clean energy projects throughout the years, providing green, affordable solutions to big cities big or small communities in rural Africa or the Amazon rainforest. In his presentation “Better Businesses for a Better Planet”, he stated that the world has no space for greenwashing, or companies faking sustainable practices. “There are many recent examples of businesses lying about their commitment to the planet. At the age of digitization and transparency, it’s not allowed anymore. People are becoming more conscious and companies with these fake practices will be short-lived”, said Mr. Lagarrigue.

Isabel Garro, Special Adviser for the Agenda 2030, Spanish High Commission, gave an inspirational talk about how businesses should keep reinventing the future of our planet. “Every entrepreneur is a superhero because they work with purpose and passion. We have no right to be pessimistic”, she said.

The DGDW, a Horyou media partner, covers a range of topics like Future of Work. Feeding a 10 Billion World, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Follow DGDW and keep informed about their activities, and about Horyou’s coverage of the conference on Twitter.

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) and its side event 4YFN, have some successful experiences to share with the social good sector

The Mobile World Congress took place from 25-28 February, 2019

Until a few years ago, the social good world was considered as a unique entity, completely separated from the regular businesses. Although it had common goals with the public sector, it was then clear that the ‘charitables’ or ‘non-profits’ shared few traits with the for-profit industries. The good news is, these times are over. Last week, as I dug in two most disruptive conferences, the MWC and 4YFN, I learned not only that social businesses have never been more interesting to the tech industries, but that they have many lessons to learn about them. Here are some the tech industry takeaways for social entrepreneurs:

They want to invest in social businesses – Regardless of industry, many big corporations have substantial open innovation budgets to invest in startups that bring positive change in their businesses. Clean energy, sustainable mobility, simplified and accessible payment projects, affordable healthcare, all of these are examples of areas that are in the radar of big companies. There was never a better time for social businesses to be funded and supported by for-profit businesses.

Accountability and Traceability are the future – As we’ve been seeing with the many Blockchain projects that have been developed in the last few years – going from cryptocurrencies like HoryouToken with its Proof of Impact to Smart Contracts that bring transparency to documents – traceability is key and, luckily, more accessible than ever. The future lies in trustworthy information, as consumers want to know more about the supply chain of their food, clothes, medicines…

Don’t be afraid of Artificial Intelligence – One of the most awaited events of the MWC was a live medical procedure – a live surgery performed by a surgeon on the stage of MWC, while the patient was at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. The new technologies will allow exchanges that were almost impossible in the past, due to geographic barriers, distances and broadband limitations.

Internet of Bodies and Biohacking – I witnessed, shocked, a volunteer had a chip implanted in his own hand, live on stage. It now allows him to make payments or open doors with his ‘intra-device’, but the possibilities of the biohacking technology go far beyond that. It can help disabled people to be less dependent on carers, for example, and has a huge potential in developing solutions for dementia patients.

The Industry of Care – As populations are becoming long-lived in many countries, the industry of care has brought promising technological solutions. From apps that connect healthcare workers with families, providing traceable and monitored care to non-invasive procedures for chronic patients that use wearable devices to prevent hospitalizations, there is a range of affordable MedTech solutions that were developed by successful, social-good-oriented startups.

Do you want to share your social innovation solution with the world? Horyou, the social network for social good, is the perfect platform to do so. Be the change, be Horyou.

A new movement seeks to convene entrepreneurs for a sustainable 21st century

Oxygen2050 conference takes place in Helsinki

Exactly how would you imagine the world in 30 years? At the pace technology is advancing, the world as we know it is bound to transform completely. But will it cope with the current challenges our society is faced with?

A global group of entrepreneurs believe they can offer some answers to those questions and, more importantly, propose solutions for the next decades. Oxygen 2050 is a grassroots movement that aspires to transform the 21st Century society through inclusion and sustainability.

Hence, on the 15th of February, the group is bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders in Helsinki, to consider the establishment of new ventures for a new world. For that purpose, Oxygen 2050 is re-inventing the traditional conference format and proposing an alternative to panels and roundtables in the form of ‘jam sessions’ whereby everyone is invited to bring their notes. It’s called Transformative Business Unconference (TBU), and it’s got no agenda other than the main theme, embracing the idea of crowd-sourced content. Schedules aren’t immutable and may be rewritten any time, and inspiration is the rule.

Invited speaker Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou, the social network for social good, will elaborate on the Horyou’s mission, as well as on HoryouToken and the concept of Blockchain with a Purpose. Says Yonathan: «We are humbled to be part of this group of entrepreneurs working together and exchanging ideas for better times. Horyou is here to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Agenda 2030 by sharing its experience within the ecosystem of social entrepreneurship».

It is worth noting that Oxygen 2050 gathering resonates with Horyou’s mission, which is to introduce a new approach to valuing creation. In the words of its organizers, “growth and profit are important, but motivation derives from purpose, while the challenges that the world is faced with call entrepreneurs, investors, customers and stakeholders at large to determine the mission and the purpose of their institutions”.

Keep tuned for more news from Oxygen 2050, an Horyou Media Partner.

 

More Stories

Support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals! This world is the one thing we all have in common! By working together, we can achieve great...