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Automation and artificial intelligence – what could it mean for sustainable development?

"The expansion of computing and machine intelligence is likely to affect healthcare, education, privacy and cybersecurity, and energy and environmental management. Already access to cheap bandwidth is changing how learning takes place, seen in the availability of various online learning platforms, such as massive open online courses (MOOCs); as technology advances, not only how, but also what is learnt may also change. In a future where more capable machines can carry an ever greater share of routine tasks, learning that stimulates conceptual and creative capacities would appear increasingly relevant. This could imply an education system shifting from a focus on mathematics and reading to a different set of personal and intellectual skills that facilitate working in tandem with intelligent machines (Brinjolfsson & McAfee, 2014). A sensor-driven world – the “internet of things” – also holds considerable potential to improve efficiency in a range of process, thus promoting environmental sustainability. On the other hand, ubiquitous data-gathering and storage from social media profiles through to commercial data, raises concerns about privacy. Cybersecurity is also regularly identified as a key area of risk (UBS, 2015)."
Friedrich Soltau
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Industry Focus: 
Information & Telecommunication
Internet & Cyberspace
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