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Emerging Technology Trends: Artificial Intelligence and Big Data for Development 4.0

AI offers profound potential benefits and the opportunity to help address some of the developing world's most pressing issues by accelerating economic growth, improving agricultural systems, enabling quality education, and addressing health and climate challenges. These benefits are fueled by the increasing availability of computational power, improved connectivity, and big data. Combining big data with AI can enhance governance, decision-making, and accountability. To that end the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) wanted to explore and address the opportunities and challenges AI and big data offer for developing countries. The ITU hired TIV’s experts to analyze the data system and the main challenges for big data and AI uptake in developing countries: data creation, availability, interoperability, and quality; human capital and data skills; infrastructure; and AI trustworthiness.

This report was designed to help developing countries embrace the opportunities offered by AI and big data deployment, warn against the main challenges, and offer hands-on suggestions for regulators and policymakers in regulating these salient issues. TIV’s experts highlighted the most salient issues in public policy and regulation of big data and AI for development while at the same time offering hands-on suggestions for regulators and policymakers. Four domains of AI and big data applications (health, mobile big data, agriculture, education, and open data) were covered in the report and were explored in depth. These deep dives were used to inform the benefits developing countries can reap from identifying and implementing adequate big data and AI technologies. The report illustrates developing countries' regulatory and policy barriers and the significance of incentivizing AI and big data uptake.

Our ITU report included a draft template proposal intended to guide policymakers and regulators in crafting a national AI and data strategy for development. This template sets out the main process of conducting SWOT analyses related to AI and data deployment nationally, highlighting the key questions that should guide the formulation of the visions. It also gives an overview of the main exemplary objectives that a national AI and data strategy for development should contain, identifying the main building blocks of a national AI and data system for development. Overall, the report illustrates the significance of the opportunities AI and big data provide for development and outlines good policy and regulatory practices to ensure they are properly seized.

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