Tomorrow and Beyond: How the UN is Shaping the Future of Technology

By Annie Rosenthal as part of the 2018 +SocialGood series on emerging technologies

Technology is constantly emerging and evolving, creating endless challenges and opportunities for our world and those working to protect it. From the implementation of specific frontier technologies to the creation of large-scale frameworks and recommendations, the United Nations is helping shape the way individuals, development groups, and organizations use technology.

Emerging technologies for the Global Goals

The United Nations and its agencies are constantly exploring ways to use the latest innovations to forward progress on the Sustainable Development goals. Check out the links below to see some of the many ways technology is being used by the UN:

Asking the big questions

The United Nations knows that technology is not a silver bullet. We must explore how to utilize innovative tools so that they create a more inclusive, safe, and prosperous world. In addition to using frontier technology to implement the Global Goals, the UN is also asking, and often answering, the big questions that will shape our future.

From reports on how to prevent discriminatory outcomes in Machine Learning to commitments to create a climate-resilient future, the UN is helping add the welfare of people and planet into conversations around the future of technology.

Examining the digital frontier

Earlier this year, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the launch of High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation. The panel was created to raise awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, across society and the economy, and contribute to the broader public debate on how to ensure a safe and inclusive digital future for all, taking into account relevant human rights norms.

In 2019, the panel will put forward practical proposals on how to strengthen cooperation in the digital realm across sectors and geographies. As part of putting together this report, they want to hear from digital innovators and interested parties like you. Learn how you can get involved here.

We need people at all levels, from all sectors, from different backgrounds, and different geographies to come together and create a better future for us all. The future will likely technologies we cannot yet imagine and issues we have yet to discover. However, when we build sustainable frameworks and coalitions, we can continue to work together to create a more equitable, safe, and just world.