Can artificial intelligence technologies play a central role in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals?
Today we will look at goal number two, zero hunger, and how A.I can make a difference.
It’s been a while since I was here last and I’m sorry about that. But hopefully we can shake some life in here again starting with this post.
Did you know that between 2015 when the UN adopted the Sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 2018 the number of undernourished people around the world kept increasing.
By 2017, 821 million people suffered from hunger (11 percent of the world’s population - one in nine people on the planet). (1)
The whole thing is kind of scary and I guess that anyone reading this is like me, one of the eight out of nine that doesn’t live with undernourishment hanging over me. I just want to put some pressure here, if there is something we can do to help, we should.
There is a lot of ways to help, as an example I found this site which works towards giving people the tools to take care of the food productivity by themselves. They are trying to end world hunger on a grassroot level. Which, I think, is always a better option that putting out a fire that most likely will start up again.
If you’re not up to donate any money you could try this app instead. It donates on behalf of you, the only thing you must do is move a bit. For every mile you run or cycle they will donate either USD 0.25 or USD 0.10. It is a great way to get some exercise in as well as helping the world towards the SDG number two. Here is their website: https://charitymiles.org/ , just remember to pick The World hunger program.
So how does A.I fit in?
I will mention one example where A.I, at least in my mind, is a perfect fit.
A.I can be very efficient in forecasting food shortages with early warning systems. It would also be efficient as an active participant in a front-line plan to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote a sustainable agriculture. (1)
For example, satellite imagery in combination with A.I technology have proven particularly good in helping governments and organizations like the World Food Program address vulnerability by providing a more granular understanding of the impact of specific shocks on agriculture, in addition to predicting crop yields and future events. (2)
With the help of satellite images Stanford researchers developed an A.I-program that enabled policy makers to monitor economic wellbeing in various part of the world and evaluate the effectiveness of antipoverty programs. The program could also identify the areas that required the most aid. (3)
If we continue down this path AI might very well be a strong, if not the strongest, contributor to the end of world hunger.
If used right, I’ll give it two thumbs up!