Opening Remarks by Ms Beate Trankmann at the U&AI Bootcamp Final 2022
November 25, 2022
Good evening from the UNDP office in Beijing! And welcome to all of you joining us around the world for this year’s U&AI bootcamp Final.
I want to give an especially warm welcome to our finalists, and congratulate you for making it this far!
Out of 2500 participants from 35 countries, we selected your proposals. The judges believe they offer potentially game-changing ideas and solutions to real-world development challenges. For that you should feel really proud.
Our world urgently needs passionate problem-solvers like you.
We need innovators with creativity, energy and resourcefulness to seize the reins and help steer us towards a greener, more inclusive and sustainable future.
Because the coming decades – when many of you will be climbing the career ladder, starting new ventures and perhaps raising families – will be humanity’s toughest yet.
- Climate disasters like this year’s epic floods in Pakistan, Europe’s wildfires and China’s sweltering heatwaves are becoming more and more frequent .
- Global hunger levels are reaching new highs, with the number of severely food insecure people doubling in two years, from 135 million to 276 million .
- Food, energy and fertilizer prices are rising, squeezing incomes just after the COVID-19 pandemic caused poverty levels to rise for the first time in 20 years.
As the UN Secretary-General said recently: our world is in big trouble .
But, while we are living in times with unprecedented problems, we are also living in an age of unparalleled potential.
Artificial Intelligence technologies - if deployed responsibly - offer us the chance to respond to challenges in new and unexpected ways. It gives us the opportunity to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
But we must also be mindful of AI's risks. Without proper oversight and ethical guidance, AI could worsen societal divides and increase prejudice and discriminaiton, as the algorithms underpinning AI are vulnerbale to the same biases as the people programming them. The vast amounts of data needed to furnish AI programs could also lead to abuse, with the potential to inringe on individual's data privacy.
Your generation, the largest and most tech-savvy in history, are coming-of-age during this period of incredible technological advancement. You have an important opportunity to use your skills to develop AI-enabled solutions that can address our planet’s greatest threats.
You can help humanity leapfrog towards a future that is sustainable and inclusive for all life on earth.
Artificial Intelligence technologies - if deployed responsibly - offer us the chance to respond to challenges in new and unexpected ways. It gives us the opportunity to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.Beate Trankmann, Resident Representative, UNDP China
This year’s cohort gives me hope for the future. I have been so impressed by what I have seen so far. From ideas to support both physical and mental health, improve educational access, and incentivize green actions in everyday life – all using AI.
Throughout this camp you have demonstrated teamwork, ingenuity and inventiveness – all essential attributes for future leaders and global change-makers.
Whether you are the winners of this final competition or not, I hope you can take your newly honed skills at innovating for global challenges, with you to your next projects.
With that, I’d like to end by thanking Tsinghua University for their support in facilitating this bootcamp. This is the second year we have collaborated on this initiative, and I’m pleased to see it going from strength to strength. Indeed, this year we hit our goal at improving gender equality amongst the cohort - with more than half of all participants being women.
Thank you also to our incredible line up of judges and mentors who have generously donated their time and insights. Many of you joined us last year as well, and your continued support remains invaluable to us.
Finally, I wish our finalists good luck! I can’t wait to watch your final pitches on how we can build a more sustainable future for all.
With that, let’s get the competition started!