2,602-uses-of-ai-for-social-good,-and-what-we-learned-from-them

Similar projects can benefit from shared resources

When we reviewed all the applications, we saw that many people are trying to tackle the same problems and are even using the same approaches to do so. For example, we received more than 30 applications proposing to use AI to identify and manage agricultural pests. The report includes a list of common project submissions, which will hopefully encourage people to collaborate and share resources with others working to solve similar problems.  

You don’t need to be an expert to use AI for social good

AI is becoming more accessible as new machine learning libraries and other open-source tools, such as Tensorflow and ML Kit, reduce the technical expertise required to implement AI. Organizations no longer need someone with a deep background in AI, and they don’t have to start from scratch. More than 70 percent of submissions, across all sectors and organization types, used existing AI frameworks to tackle their proposed challenge. 

Successful projects combine technical ability with sector expertise 

Few organizations had both the social sector and AI technical expertise to successfully design and implement their projects from start to finish. The most comprehensive applications established partnerships between nonprofits with deep sector expertise, and academic institutions or technology companies with technical experience.

ML isn’t the only answer 

Some problems can be addressed by using alternative methods to AI—and result in faster, simpler and cheaper execution. For example, several organizations proposed using machine learning to match underserved populations to legal knowledge and tools. While AI could be helpful, similar results could be achieved through a well-designed website. While we’ve seen the impact AI can have in solving big problems, you shouldn’t rule out more simple approaches as well. 

Global momentum around AI for social good is growing—and many organizations are already using AI to address a wide array of societal challenges. As more social sector organizations recognize AI’s potential, we all have a role to play in supporting their work for a better world. 

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