7th Symposium “Perspectives on ICT4D” 24 April 2020


“Artificial Intelligence and Sustainable Development: can digital technologies support community-based innovations?”

Every year the International Symposium “Perspectives on ICT4D”, held at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, aims to gather a broad community of researchers and practitioners to discuss and reflect on new paradigms of knowledge sharing and knowledge generation, to the benefit of unconnected communities, living in low resource environments of the world.

This year’s theme is“ Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies at the Service of Local Innovation“. We are witnessing digitization and datafication rapidly changing many aspects of daily life. There are risks of digital exclusion of disadvantaged groups; risks related to the use of data and privacy, data ownership, more and closer gated communities on the Web, risk of increasing surveillance. New technologies and big data, as they are being currently applied, are raising serious concerns.

Is it possible to reverse the negative trends? Can smart technologies be used in a positive way, serving people at the grassroots? Can smart technologies be linked to local, community-based innovations for a greener, more equal and more sustainable world?

In this year’s symposium we want to discuss the newest advances in Artificial Intelligence and disruptive innovations for sustainable development and wellbeing. We do this, as usual, from different perspectives and contexts: technology, society, environment, local and global scales. We want to discuss the latest developments in digital technology “for good”, yet, with awareness of the ethical and societal issues that are at stake. With this event we want to facilitate a reflective debate that should include the people at the “other” side of the digital divide, whose voices are all too often ignored.

Can smart technologies and artificial intelligence help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Can we be optimistic about the grassroots opportunities for a better life? Can we ensure community initiatives, regreening, grassroots innovation, knowledge sharing and new knowledge networks?

The Symposium is an open event, but is also an integral part of the annual ICT4D master course for students computer science, information science and artificial intelligence. It will take place at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The program will be soon announced.