Author: Simran Kaplish, V year of B.Com.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Institute of Law, Nirma University
Artificial intelligence has been on the rise since the decade and has dominated every sector, from hospitality to education. It has always been a stepping stone towards problem-solving. The question arises whether AI can help fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals, 2030, formulated in 2015 by the United Nations. As per the statistics, more than one-third of employed workers in sub-Saharan Africa still live on less than $1.90 a day.[i] People do not have healthy nutrition, basic sanitation, drinking water, electricity, and quality education. During the time of Covid, the health and well-being of people should be the primary concern of every state. AI-enabled devices can detect diabetes using heart rate sensor data to aid 400 million people globally with diabetes.[ii]Gender equality has been a touchy subject, with one in every three women facing a physical or sexual assault from an intimate relationship or sexual violence from a non-partner. At current consumption, by 2050, we will need three planets to sustain us.[iii]States do not have the finances to innovate technology and increase the standards of working. With these many irregularities, how will one achieve all the SDG?
Artificial intelligence has positive and negative impacts on SDG. However, there are positive impacts on at least 13 SDG goals,i.e.,79% of the goals. It can be said that AI is the fastest source by which we can reach closer to these goals. It can help us gather data from a vast horizon of databases, analyze and interpret, predict and postulate and contribute towards the formulation of sustainable citizen communities and responsible nations. AI's can automate menial tasks, analyze vast amounts of data, and infuse intelligence and learning into multiple processes that might address complex, dynamic, and interrelated global challenges like the SDGs.[iv]
AI WITH SOCIAL GOALS
The following SDG goals deal with societal well-being:-
SDG 1- Creating No Poverty-Environment
SDG 4- Providing Quality Education
SDG 6- Providing Clean Water And Sanitation
SDG 11- Formation Of Sustainable Cities Communities
SDG 13- Climate Action
Artificial intelligence can help in eradicating poverty indirectly. AI can be implemented to increase the productivity of the nation, which will progressively increase the profit margins of people. It will help in raising their living standards and eradicating poverty. This can only be done when states themself Take initiative as a stepping stone.
AI has changed the dynamics of education. After the pre-Covid era, AI is being used to improve the skills of children and target their weaknesses. Not only this, it has taken over the burden of professionals by conducting educational activities which are tedious. Customized courses can be made up for students depending upon their choices, strengths, and weaknesses. AI tutors can help these students with simple doubts through machine learning. This does not only evolve the education sector makes our country more up to date and technical.
AI helps provide clean water and sanitation by calculating, analyzing, forecasting, and altering water access to people. All of this helps in the fulfilment of SDG 11 is the formation of sustainable citizen communities. The improvement in the education sector, transportation sector, including the formation of autonomous vehicles, having Chatbots and robots which helps in doing tedious works can help make the city sustainable.
AI-enabled Safety systems can be implemented so that people feel more safe and protected. The effect of natural disasters can be reduced if these disasters are predicted in advance. The impact of natural and industrial activities on the environment can also be decreased if predictions are made, and suggestions are accepted. AI is a potent tool, if used ideally, can lead to advancements. All of this ultimately fulfils SDG 13, the talks about climate actions. Once vehicles have been electrified, pollution will be less, leading to a positive impact.
AI WITH ECONOMIC GOALS
The following SDG deal with economic stability:-
SDG 8- Decent Work And Economic Growth
SDG 9- Industry, Innovation, And Infrastructure
SDG 10- Reduce Inequalities Amongst Countries
SDG 12- Promote Responsible Production And Consumption
Artificial intelligence plays a very dominant yet progressive role in bringing economic stability. Productivity levels can be increased within no time with AI. Information can be quickly processed, and predictions can be made regarding production. SDG 8 promotes decent work and economic growth by creating a safe, stable environment where all the tedious work is being done by machines, making human life more productive and less cumbersome. It has also raised bars for industrial innovation and infrastructure by creating good quality, and large quantities have helped boost the industrial sector, especially then complemented with Technologies.
AI has reduced inequalities amongst nations by quickly spotting inequalities and working upon them through pacts and treaties. SDG 12 talks about responsible consumption and production, which again can be monitored by AI. It can estimate overall consumption and then focus upon production efficiently and effectively.
AI WITH ENVIRONMENT GOALS
The following SDG deal with environmental soundness:-
SDG 14- Protecting Life Below Water
SDG 15- Protecting Life On Land
SDG 14 aims to protect the life below the water by keeping an eye on beneath the water resources and formulating laws and policies to reduce water pollution. AI-enabled machines can easily check toxin levels in the water. Similarly, SDG 15 promotes life on land by preventing destruction and creating reverse prints.
Apart from these goals, SDG 16 promotes peace, justice, and strong institutions for a better legal system.[v]AI can be used to predict and make analyses, draw conclusions, and even interpret data for better implementation of legal rules and principles.
WHERE DO WE FALL BACK – MAJOR CONCERNS
As we know that AI has its positives and negatives. We have already seen the positives and how they can help in the fulfilment of SDG. But, negatives prevail! Using AI in the legal system can increase discrimination by making wrong predictions. For instance, in the American criminal justice system, black people are not given bail easily through AI. Most of the black people are analyzed as criminals without any reasonability. SDG5 focuses on gender equality, but here AI is making the situation worse. Apart from this, AI can be a source to make things easy, analyze data, predict the future and conclude, but humans still back up final decision making. Present, AI cannot draw perfect findings because they do not think relationally. They do not act like humans in totality. AI can mimic people but not think intelligently like people. Therefore, it is good to use AI for its best
[i] United Nations Statistics Division. (n.d.). — SDG Indicators. UNstats. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2019/goal-01
[ii]Using AI to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals. (n.d.). United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.undp.org/blog/using-ai-help-achieve-sustainable-development-goals
[iii]AI + Sustainable Development Goals. (n.d.). AI for Good Foundation. Retrieved September 28, 2021, from https://ai4good.org/ai-for-sdgs/
[iv]Artificial Intelligence and the SDGs: The State of Play. (n.d.). 2030Vision. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.2030vision.com/news/artificial-intelligence-the-potential-for-good
[v]Peace, justice and strong institutions. (n.d.). United Nations Sustainable Development. Retrieved September 29, 2021, from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/peace-justice/