IICPSD’s SDG AI Lab dives into the latest technologies behind ChatGPT

The SDG AI Lab offers a hands-on crash course on prompt engineering to development practitioners

April 5, 2023


On 5 April 2023, IICPSD’s SDG AI Lab hosted a webinar on Chat GPT and offered a crash course on prompt engineering to an audience of 140+ people from UNDP and beyond. This webinar was the second session in the series “Natural Language Processing for Sustainable Development Goals” (NLP for SDGs). The NLP for SDGs webinar series was initiated by the SDG AI Lab, in partnership with OSDG and Koç University. It aims to provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and knowledge in the use of NLP for achieving SDGs.

Launched by Open AI in November 2022, ChatGPT – the generative AI that took the world by storm – pioneered in advanced natural language processing. Externalized as a real-time chatbot, ChatGPT also changed the status quo of how AI technologies engage with the public. In about 2 months, ChatGPT has reached 100 million active users, hence making it the fastest-growing consumer application to date. This webinar thus sought to unpack the latest developments in NLP behind ChatGPT, the ethical risks in its use, and offer a crash course on how users can best engage with the tool.

The webinar started by providing a background on several important concepts and technologies that have made ChatGPT possible. It then proceeded to a brief introduction of the tool itself and a few examples of its use in the field of education, research & consulting, app development, translation, etc. Toward the end of the presentation, the SDG AI Lab team led a session on prompt engineering and had a live demonstration.


While ChatGPT has been instrumental for a wide range of text-based tasks, the immense potential that it affords also comes with certain risks and possible misuse. The SDG AI Lab NLP team raised these issues to the audiences for further discussion. Ethical considerations - from biases in training data to false information in generated content and to underpaid workers providing human feedback - all demand greater attention from developers and policymakers.

As IICPSD’s Director Mr. Sahba Sobhani said,

“As development practitioners, we should have a bigger discussion about the pros and cons of using such technology, and the kind of biases it has. The agenda for today is to engage our colleagues in the use of ChatGPT, and prompt engineering is important because being able to ask the right prompts is a critical way for us to be able to use this tool in this context.”

IICPSD SDG AI Lab, with its primary aim to harness the potential of artificial intelligence for sustainable development, will take a lead in the conversation about AI technologies’ implications for the development sector.



About UNDP SDG AI Lab  

The SDG AI Lab is a joint initiative of the UNDP Bureau of Policy and Programme Support, hosted under UNDP IICPSD. The Lab has a mission to harness the potential of frontier technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for sustainable development. SDG AI Lab provides research, development, and advisory services in the areas of frontier technologies and sustainable development. As well, the Lab supports UNDP’s internal capacity-strengthening efforts for the increasing demand for digital solutions. To bridge the talent gap in the use of frontier technologies in development contexts, the Lab mobilizes a community of volunteer data scientists, connecting UNDP teams and highly skilled data scientists to address development challenges with digital solutions.  



Press Contact 

Gokhan Dikmener, UNDP IICPSD Technical Specialist. Email: gokhan.dikmener@undp.org  

Gergana Georgieva, UNDP IICPSD Communication Consultant. Email: gergana.georgieva@undp.org