U.N. Report Highlights how Technology can Drive Greater Inequality and Social Dislocation

In an interesting report by the U.N. which was released Monday, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and gene editing are incredibly promising when it comes to improving people’s lives, however, they can also drive greater inequality and social dislocation.

The 2018 World Economic and Social Survey looked at whether cutting-edge technologies can be used to meet U.N. goals for 2030 such as ending extreme poverty, conserving the environment and helping drive economic growth.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres explained that frontier technologies – like DNA sequencing, 3D-printing, biodegradable plastics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence – are incredibly promising in helping the 2030 agenda.

In the foreword of the report, Guterres wrote that a long, healthy life with prosperity for everyone, and environmental sustainability are possible if we harness the full power of these technologies. However, these same technologies also raise some serious issues.

Guterres warned governments to adopt policies that guarantee that frontier technologies are not only commercially feasible but also unbiased and ethical.

This is an interesting development for Asgardia as they aim to ensure the peaceful use of space for everyone by creating a space nation that is open to everyone regardless of religion, gender, citizenship etc.

The report highlighted how richer developed countries are looking into the opportunities of new technologies to help eliminate disease and automate manual and repetitive tasks but many developing countries have yet to reap the benefits of these existing innovations fully.

The U.N. experts further explained that there is a tremendous technological gap as can be seen by over 1 billion people in developing countries without access to electricity and another 2.5 billion who suffer weak connections and frequent power outages.

The 175-page report pinpointed how millions of people are still dependant on human or animal muscle power to cultivate land and other kinds of production, and they still lack access to modern education that is essential for them to begin using many new frontier technologies.

However, the report stated that it has been possible for developing countries to “leapfrog” to some new technologies, such as skipping landline telephones and using only mobile phones, or bypassing electricity lines and to harness the power of solar energy.

But, the report also highlighted that without a minimum level of education, it is not possible to use digital technologies to purchase or sell goods online, or offer car services or rent out an apartment, even if the proper electricity and Internet connections are there.

The report by the U.N.’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs also stated that advances in automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing labour markets and richer developed countries are seeing job losses because of it.

While technological progress is fundamental to accomplish the U.N. goals for 2030, the report explained that there is no guarantee that this progress will be aligned with the most urgent needs of society, such as eliminating poverty and hunger, reducing inequality, producing shared prosperity and building resilience against climate change.

For example, it said robots powered by artificial intelligence could help raise output but can result in significant job loss and affect the goal of encouraging greater social equality.

The report also said that when it comes to social media, targeted advertisements are being used more and more to manipulate human emotion and spread misinformation and even hatred.

Moreover, artificial intelligence-based decision-making systems can enhance access to public services, but they also risk reinforcing existing biases and forms of exclusion.

Thus, the U.N. experts advocated for greater transparency and accountability for decisions based on artificial intelligence.

Do you agree with needing more accountability for decisions based on AI? Are you open to the idea of true equality in a space nation? Then join Asgardia today and let your voice be heard!

When preparing news, materials from the following publications were used:



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