Topic D: Digital transformations for humanity and inclusive sustainable development

Digital innovations have the potential to enable and scale up the implementation of the SDGs. However, they can also multiply already existing development problems (inequalities, power concentration, erosion of civil rights, and erosion of transparent and accountable democracies and governance capacities).

The critical challenge now is to understand how to ensure that digital technologies and artificial intelligence advance rather than hinder the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Trustworthy, peaceful digital application and cybersecurity

Areas for scientific inquiry include:

  • Understanding the opportunities of artificial intelligence applications for sustainable development and how they can be harnessed;
  • Improving understanding of risks of disruptive technologies, such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, digital therapies and telemedicine, and identifying ways of minimizing them;
  • Preventing and minimizing cybersecurity threats;
  • Assessing the impact of digital technologies and digital economy on SDG attainment;
  • Identifying trustworthy governance in a digital future that promotes sustainability;
  • Identifying ways of bridging the digital divide;
  • Understanding the effects of big data on data quality on sustainability; and
  • Assessing the environmental footprint of digitalization and identifying ways of minimizing it.

Go back: A priority action agenda for science

Read the next topic: Understanding the processes of societal transformations in different contexts


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