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5 ways AI is doing good in the world right now

WEF | Sean Fleming | Jul 14, 2021

AI helping solve world problems - 5 ways AI is doing good in the world right now

In the wake of the pandemic, a growing number of businesses are speeding up plans to adopt AI and automation, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2020.

As humans and technology increasingly work together, here are five examples of the range of applications for artificial intelligence and where it might do good.

Tackling human trafficking

There could be as many as 45 million enslaved people around the world right now. Many of them will have been the victims of human trafficking, which is one of the most profitable criminal undertakings of our time.

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The Global Emancipation Network (GEN) has joined forces with Accenture, Splunk (a data analytics platform) and Graphistry (which develops easy-to-read data visualizations) to create an AI-powered human-trafficking tool.

Called Artemis, it draws in data from sources such as business licenses, and public records like credit defaults and online reviews, among others. Then it identifies businesses and individuals, which it calculates to be those most likely to be involved in human trafficking. Artemis can send alerts to law enforcement agencies, triggering further investigations.

Fighting gender imbalance in the media

Ensuring a more equitable range of voices and faces in the media can only be achieved through an accurate assessment of where change is needed. That’s the view of Swiss multimedia publishing business Ringier, which is using AI to check the gender bias of its output.

The tool tracks gender representation in headlines, photos and captions, as well as throughout the main body of published stories. A report from the World Association of News Publishers says some Ringier-owned titles have achieved a 50:50 female:male split in their readership and that its next goal is to improve gender parity in its newsrooms.

Tracking and responding to COVID-19

AI systems had detected the outbreak of a new, previously unknown pneumonia-like illness in China well before the world realized it was in the midst of a pandemic.

AI-powered early warning systems for disease and infection draw in data from news sites and online sources of information to spot epidemiological patterns; they can then trigger alerts and help healthcare services get ready.

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The power of AI has also been used to help assess the likely efficacy of specific drugs or treatments for COVID-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, businesses including IBM, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, are donating their cloud computing resources to enable research institutions to carry out high-performance computational calculations. This has even been mirrored by many private individuals who have joined the Folding@home initiative and made their personal computers available to help collaborative computing efforts take place in the push to manage the pandemic.

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