AI to be used to tackle global issues in new digital initiative

Melanie May | 5 February 2019 | News

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright has announced funding for an initiative testing how digital technologies including AI could help to tackle global challenges, including combating illegal wildlife trade and reducing food waste.
The ‘data trust’ programme is to be piloted in the UK, run by the Open Data Institute and the Government’s Office for Artificial Intelligence, with more than £700,000 to be invested in the initiative to tackle global issues. The funding will help organisations such as WILDLABS Tech Hub and WRAP design the frameworks required to exchange data between organisations in a safe, fair and ethical way.
The aim of the scheme is to exploit the power of data exchange between organisations with the raw data and those with expertise to process it to tackle major global issues.
The Digital Secretary also announced a raft of measures to boost tech for social good as well as the organisations that will receive a share of the government’s £1 million Digital Leadership Fund, which aims to boost charity leaders’ digital knowhow and how they can use technology to benefit their causes. These include Age UK, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and Cornwall Museums Partnership, while the new measures include:

Richard Swannell, Director, WRAP Global, said:

“WRAP’s work focuses on forging powerful partnerships and delivering initiatives to support more sustainable economies and society. Carefully building and understanding the evidence which galvanises action is at the heart of everything we do. These pilots will give us the opportunity to build on our experience and explore different ways to create an environment where organisations can confidently share their data.”

Also commenting on the news James Eiloart, SVP EMEA, Tableau said:

“The Digital Secretary’s appetite for using digital technologies to address global challenges is both refreshing and exciting. So much of the prevailing narrative around data has been negative in recent times that it’s easy to forget its power as a force for good.
“Technology is certainly part of the solution, but genuine change requires an equal investment in training so that charities and NGOs are sufficiently equipped to harness the full power of data at their disposal. Striking this balance can be challenging. As the government moves forward with its strategy, we would certainly welcome the opportunity to engage in a dialogue and share what we have learned from the many successful partnerships we are running across the world.”

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