Emerging Technologies

AI and the UN

Articial Intelaligence (AI) is popping up everywhere. From self-driving cars to voice recognition systems in service departments and online shopping recommendations. As businesses are rapidly incorporating AI into decision making, the ethics of AI becomes important. At the same time, the large amounts data that allow AIs to be trained become increasingly valuable. It is clear that AI will become increasingly pervasive, but the benefits and dangers of it are far from clear and are much debated.

Is this the most amazing and useful invention since electricity, or is it the end of humanity as we know it?

OICT has built various prototypes using natural language analysis, machine learning and other aspects of AI:

  • A document summarization tool (trained through feedback from users)
  • Violence prediction for elections (trained with data from previous events)
  • Analysis of political alignment in GA votes (using clustering techniques)
  • Classification of Humanitarian Documents

To learn more, please download the paper "What is Artificial Intelligence?"

Machine Learning and the UN

Machine learning is the most rapidly growing field of artificial intelligence (AI). Rather than programming computers explicitly to perform a certain task, it is now possible to let computers learn by themselves how to achieve a certain objective. This approach also allows computers to take advantage of the large amounts of data that both humans and devices (the “Internet of Things”) generate that can no longer be analyzed by hand.

What are the opportunities Machine Learning offers for the UN? What are the risks?

The Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) has already used machine learning in prototypes for document classification and automatic summarization, is working on automated conversations (“bots”) and plans to research image recognition in depth in Q4 of this year. 

To learn more, download the paper "What is Machine Learning?"

Blockchain in the UN

Distributed Ledger Technology (“Blockchain”) has been buzzing in the news recently. First it was reported as the underlying concept of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and then as a promising foundational technology in itself.

Is this a fad? Or is this, as some predict, a fundamentally important development like the Internet?

The Office of Information and Communication Technology (OICT) is currently building prototypes of various blockchain applications. We have built a sandbox for experimentation and plan to open this to entities within the Secretariat later this year. 

To learn more, download the paper "Blockchain - What Does It Means for UN?