QCAI to use AI tech to tackle social challenges with UNDP
February 17 2019 09:27 PM
Speakers at the event discussing the application of AI on social issues
Speakers at the event discussing the application of AI on social issues. PICTURES: Shameer Rasheed

Researchers from Qatar Centre for Artificial Intelligence (QCAI) will partner with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to look into some of the major social challenges, disclosed a top official of the organisation.
“We aim to create a partnership with UNDP and build the bridges. They will bring forth the social problems and we have researchers who can conduct research into these problems and come out with solutions” Sanjay Chawla, research director, QCAI told Gulf Times, on the sidelines of a two day workshop conducted by QCRI under the theme ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Tool for Social Good’.
“One of our main objectives is to make use of AI to alleviate poverty and improve living standards especially among the developing world. This workshop is directly related to the goal as UNDP has set 17 Sustainabile Development Goals (SDG). We bring in the technology and UNDP has set the goals and we try how technology can be used to meet the goals,” explained Chawla.
“If we can be successful in these researches, we can translate them into policies. QCAI is about policy, education and research. We have recently released the national strategy and focused on six pillars that Qatar needs to work on so that AI can augment jobs,” continued the official.
“Our main goal in the workshop is to identify the major problems and challenges and come out with some practical solutions. This will help us look into the problems and find practical solutions,” he added.


A section of the participants at the workshop

Representatives from the world’s leading NGOs and UN agencies, as well as academics and industry leaders, are taking part in the workshop to develop an increased understanding of and identify applications for the use of AI to solve real-world developmental and humanitarian problems.
QCAI, part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s Qatar Computing Research Institute partnered with UNDP to host the UNDP-QCAI Artificial Intelligence for Social Good workshop.
Dr Ingmar Weber, organiser of the event and QCRI’s research director, said, “The workshop provides an opportunity to consider challenges including the ethics related to ensuring AI delivers equal benefits to all, leaving no one behind; technical and legal issues related to data access; as well as operational issues related to the integration of new technologies.
“The emphasis will be on forging a realistic outlook bridging the pessimist’s ‘extreme poverty won’t be solved by algorithms’ and the optimist’s ‘this Twitter sentiment dashboard will change everything’, and on identifying opportunities for partnerships among stakeholders.”
“We are mindful of both the possibilities, and the risks, that advances in artificial intelligence hold for society. We welcome the opportunity of this workshop to hear from some of the leading lights in AI, and to offer a platform for connecting those with development and humanitarian challenges to those with resources to help solve them. We hope that the outcome of this convening will contribute to the agenda in the AI space,” added, Jennifer Colville, innovation team leader at the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States.

Last updated: February 17 2019 10:00 PM


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