Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) Tour
Artificial intelligence is widely used in various internet services. Search engines use AI to provide better search results, social media platforms rely on AI to automatically detect hate speech and other forms of harmful content, and online stores use AI to suggest products you are likely interested in based on your previous shopping habits. More complex forms of AI are used in manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, healthcare, and many other areas. Self-driving cars, programs able to recognise certain medical conditions with high accuracy, systems developed to track and predict the impact of weather conditions on crops – these all rely on AI technologies.
The ITU works on the development and use of AI, especially from the standardisation perspective, covering fields such as network orchestration and management, multimedia coding, service quality assessment, operational aspects of service provision and telecom management, cable networks, digital health, environmental efficiency, and autonomous driving. ISO and the IEC are also responsible for developing standards in these fields in regard to AI concepts and terminology, the bias in AI systems, and the assessment of AI system performances.
AI is more and more applied in the field of automated driving and IoT devices. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) carries out several activities in the field of so-called ‘driverless cars;. It hosts multilateral agreements and conventions which set the requirements and use of these technologies (such as the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic). UNECE also works to harness smart technologies and innovations for sustainable and smart cities. In this regard, it promotes the use of ICTs in city planning and service provisions, and it has developed (together with the ITU) a set of key performance indicators for smart sustainable cities. UNECE also works to facilitate connectivity through sustainable infrastructure. For instance, it assists countries in developing smart grids for more efficient energy distribution, and it administers international e-road, e-rail, and e-waterway networks.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) carries out multiple activities in the field of AI, in particular paying attention to policy frameworks that accelerate the benefits and mitigate the risks of AI. Project areas include: standards for protecting children, creating an ‘AI regulator for the twenty-first century’, and addressing the challenges of facial recognition technology. Other WEF projects explore the safety, security, and standards of AI; AI ethics and values; and machine learning and predictive systems in relation to global risks and international security. For instance, WEF published the Framework for Developing a National Artificial Intelligence Strategy to guide governments in elaborating strategies for the development and deployment of AI.
As per other technological applications, AI can also be used negatively. The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) studies the ‘AI and the weaponisation of increasingly autonomous technologies’. The UN Working Group on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) explores the technical, military, legal, and ethical implications of such systems.
The United Nations International Computing Centre (UN ICC) has created the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Centre of Excellence which helps drive efficiencies across the entire UN system by enabling and scaling the adoption of RPA solutions.
The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) also works on AI as part of its Platform 1 activities, studying the emergence of quantum communication and computation, as well asadvanced AI applications.
Finally, a short train ride from Geneva takes us to École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a leading automation and AI research centre. A bit further, we reach ETH Zurich, another leading research and innovation university focusing on AI, cybersecurity, and other frontier issues.