Unless you have been living under a rock, you are bound to have heard either how AI will be the end of all humanity (Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk), or the solution to its biggest challenges. After decades of hype, AI (artificial intelligence) has arrived.

After decades of hype, artificial intelligence (AI) has arrived. Unless you have been living under a rock, you are bound to have heard either how AI will be the end of all humanity (Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk), or the solution to its biggest challenges.

We’ve been trying to learn from those who have used or explored AI across a range of policy issues that the UN works on – from cutting down costs and time in public services and providing humanitarian assistance based on real-time movement of people, to capturing consumption patterns at micro-levels.

Our explorations of AI are in line with UNDP’s new Strategic Plan, which emphasizes that innovation has a central role in fulfilling the organization’s mission and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. By applying leading-edge thinking and advances such as AI, we can help countries make faster progress on the Goals.

So what do we talk about when we talk about AI? What applications of it have inspired us? And what do we mean by ‘responsible’ AI?  

What is AI and how do we apply it in development?

AI, as the Oxford Dictionary defines it, is the theory and development of computer systems that can perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation and interpretation.



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