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What Role AI is Playing in Achieving the Goals for Sustainable Development?

Since its emergence, Artificial Intelligence or AI is swiftly opening up new opportunities and developments in the field of corporate practices, government policies, and business. Along with its sub-segments, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, AI is creating a great impact on various sectors while influencing the larger trends in 2020. The wider impact of AI on various sectors needs an assessment of its effect on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The speedy development of artificial intelligence needs to be maintained and supported by the necessary regulatory insight and oversight for AI-based technologies to facilitate sustainable development. Failure to do so may lead to gaps in transparency, safety, and ethical standards.

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Achieving the Goals for Sustainable Development

Before looking into the role of AI in achieving the goals for sustainable development, let’s get an idea about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2015, about 193 countries agreed to the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda presented a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity of people and the planet, at present and into the future. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that define the development agenda for the nations (developed and developing) of the world. It is important to note that achieving the SDGs is not just a moral imperative, but also an economic one.

In order to achieve sustainable development goals, all the sectors including businesses, academics, governments, NGOs, multilateral institutions, and others need to accelerate and scale their efforts using every essential tool at their disposal, including Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI can be defined as a term for a set of technology algorithms and approaches that allow machines to execute human-like cognitive functions such as reasoning and learning. This astonishing technology helps in extending and augmenting the ability of human beings to recognize and solve complex, dynamic, and interconnected systems challenges like the SDGs. AI is playing an important role in addressing sustainable development challenges. Below mentioned are some of the key areas where AI is doing a great job, have a look:

Diagnosis and Treatment

These days, many researchers are exploring the use of AI in the diagnosis and treatment of assorted diseases and the design of health interventions. For instance, as per the report published by the researchers from IBM and New York University, AI can be used to identify glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world. In other research in Germany, France, and the US, it is determined that AI is on par or better than dermatologists at diagnosing skin cancer. These types of AI-based systems promise to make diagnostic and other health services more readily available in areas that have a lack of health care workers.

Financial and Banking

AI is playing an essential role in combating fraud and other financial and banking crimes. Various financial institutions are utilizing AI to analyze the huge amount and more varied data sets to detect fraud and money laundering. Banks are spending around £5 billion per year on combating financial crime in the UK. AI enables the bank to monitor the huge amounts of data it holds on customers and their transactions against publicly available data, to detect any suspicious activity. On the whole, AI technology can help to reduce the cost and enhance the effectiveness of such efforts.

Smart Water Management

Water and sanitation are at the center of the SDG resource triad. Water is widely used in agriculture, industry, and also in the domestic household. It must be adequately treated and transported in accordance with hygiene and health standards to ensure its quality and properties will meet the specifications demanded by the end users. In recent years, there is a movement to leverage the emerging technologies to offer sustainable solutions for treatment, transportation and the recycling and reuse of water.

Nowadays, water utilities are assisted by smart water management powered by AI. The evolution of new artificial intelligence (AI) technology could make monitoring at water treatment plants cost-efficient and easier while maintaining public health. AI’s ability to constantly adapt and process large amounts of data in real-time makes it an ideal tool for managing water resources in an ever-changing environment. Thereby, allowing water utility managers to maximize current revenue and effectively plan for the years ahead.


Achieving equitable, quality education for all is another Sustainable Development Goal. In education, AI has initiated producing new teaching and learning solutions that are now undergoing testing in different contexts. By leveraging the finest attributes of machines and teachers, the revelation for AI in education is one where they work collectively for the best outcome for students. There are also some tutorial programs based on artificial intelligence that already exists and can help students through basic mathematics, writing, and other subjects. These kinds of programs can teach students fundamentals. 

Moreover, a variety of AI tools can help make global classrooms accessible to all including those who speak different languages or who might have visual or hearing impairments. According to the Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector report, it is expected that AI in U.S. education will grow by 47.5% from 2017-2021. There is no doubt that AI technology can help education systems use data to improve educational equity and quality in the developing world.


Among various prevailing technologies, AI can be a great opportunity to speed up the achievement of sustainable development goals. As per a report AI is likely to become a game changer by potentially contributing US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. The same deadline has been set by the United Nations (UN) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many businesses have already started adopting this technology and various others are looking for the best AI software development services to digitalize their operations and streamline their business for better outcomes.

About The Author

Girirajsingh is a digital marketing specialist and working as consultant for ScaleXM. He holds spectacular skills in the field. He is also curious about the Technological updates, trends and marketing strategy.

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