Committed to connecting the world

BDT Director's Speeches

ITU Talks: AI for Everyone
Geneva, Switzerland  27 May 2019

ITU Talks: AI for Everyone
Monday 27 May, 9:30am, ITU Popov Room
Introductory Remarks
Doreen Bogdan-Martin
Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau

 
Good morning everyone, thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedules to join us for this talk this morning. An extra special welcome to those who have joined us from our sister agencies and partner organizations, I hope you will find this morning’s talk informative and useful to you in your work.

 
Today’s ITU Talk centres around a topic that is becoming very relevant to all of our lives, and which is going to have a huge impact on the kind of world in which we live.

 
AI is in its infancy, but it is already starting to reshape the way we do business, the way we consume, the health care we receive, our educational options, the way we interact with our environment. Algorithms are already making decisions for us, and about us – often without us realizing it. 

 
A new report from McKinsey on the disruptive effects of AI begins with this observation: “Technology has no overall purpose on its own. Its effects are driven by human choices and actions.”

 
As Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, I am most concerned that the choices we are making with regard to AI development are at heart people-centric.

 
This is a technology that has huge potential to improve lives. But it cannot improve lives on its own: it needs a development agenda that truly reflects the world we want. This agenda needs to be forged in an open and inclusive manner, and by diverse teams that properly reflect the diversity we find in the societies in which we live.

 
That means a role for all of us, in embracing AI for good, and in speaking up when AI doesn’t serve our needs. And it means much closer consultation, cooperation and collaboration between governments, businesses and users in ensuring the systems and frameworks we create do not reinforce old inequalities, but instead improve the lives of all of us, and in particular those most in need.

 
It is my very great pleasure this morning to introduce our expert speakers from the EPFL Extension School in Lausanne.

 
Please welcome Senior Course Developer and Instructor Frederic Ouwehand. Fred joined the School in 2016 to develop the Applied Data Science Machine Learning program. He is an experienced software engineer and educator in Machine Learning, Deep Learning and AI.

 
Fred is joined by three colleagues – Michael, Christian, and Panagiota. All of them are distinguished specialists in their fields, and I will let him introduce them to you in turn during the course of the morning’s presentations. 

 
Before I hand the floor over to Fred and his team, just a few notes on this morning’s session format. We’re about to hear from our four experts, and see some compelling presentations. We’ll allow for about 10 minutes of questions from the audience after each presentation. There will be a break of 15 minutes at around 11am, and we’ll have a final round of questions from the floor for about 20 minutes at the end of the morning’s presentations, just after 12 noon.

 
Thank you