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President of OCCAM, Pierpaolo Saporito introduced the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference

Ethical and human-centric AI and digital technologies guaranteeing transparency, accountability, and fairness must be made available to all with respect to human rights and UN principles. To do so, multilateral efforts are needed at all institutional, public, and private levels.

Complementary to an adequate and updated legal framework, for which governments shall be equipped with the knowledge and training necessary to develop policies, legislation, and other measures, economic investments in digital infrastructure, literacy, and skills must be adopted to allow for e-welfare and the transfer of knowledge & technologies to all in need to be the main winning option, where AI is the key factor, if properly oriented. 

PIERPAOLO SAPORITO, President, OCCAM and Infopoverty Programme, gives a general introduction to the 23rd edition of the Infopoverty World Conference


“Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to the XXIII Infopoverty World Conference.
In 2015, the UN General Assembly quoted in the resolution on Transforming our world “eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development”. We are honored to be gathered here once again to relaunch the very same mission that inspired OCCAM to create the Conference in 2001 with the same core principles, becoming a pilot explorer of the digital revolution, interpreting and forecasting new trends.
We now live in a new phase: the advent of the digital era – an entelekia, where the virtual world seems to prevail over the real one shaped by Artificial Intelligence, able to manage the complexity of trillions of data and indicate solutions,  but for whom and why? In 2012, the conference discussed who drives the digital revolution?, underlining the key importance of the companies that have invested and created such a digital environment, and now AI. But we also alerted on the risks, recommending that Governments and civil society take an active role in this process to avoid the chaotic far west of practices and preserve human rights and social interest in a vision of sustainable development for all as stated by SGDs
Over 20 years, we have seen how the process develops. In 2001, the digital environment was quite desert. No Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, etc. was active. Year by year, this conference has registered how the global environment has become populated by thousands of innovations that are shaping our way of life. In 2000, we established the first 2 solar villages in Honduras, with the local Minister of Technology, UNESCO, the World Bank, and Oklahoma University, equipping them with the newborn satellite connection to test e-learning, medical, and rural remote assistance, with great impact on the communities.
These results, formalized as the ICT Village Model, were discussed in our first Conference and validated at the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva in 2003 and implemented in Tunis in 2005 with the inaugural village of Borj Etouil. Later, other villages were empowered with basic digital services (telemedicine, e-learning, e-agriculture, e-gov).
Among these, Sambaina in Madagascar was proclaimed in 2007 UN Millennium Village and is still operative and is represented here by its Mayor Mr Ravelomanantsoa. The always close cooperation with the UN system was fundamental, progressively presenting the results at seminars, exhibitions, and official events with  UNCTAD, ITU, UNESCO, FAO, etc as well as with the European Union and MCA (Millennium Challenge Account) creating the Infopoverty platform for e-welfare as the practical means to fight poverty and activate a sustainable development process.
Now, a new challenge comes with AI:  Will we be able to use it to eradicate poverty, avoiding distorted use by hard speculative or war-like interests? How could AI be applied to social problem-solving? How should we act to ensure human rights and provide e-welfare for all? Answering these questions is of the utmost importance because it allows for SDGs concretization, not leaving anyone behind. Now, let me give the floor to my AI Avatar:
This is what we intend to do today: find AI solutions to be easily applied to rural and urban disadvantaged communities; ensure a sustainable level of e-welfare, empower fragile health systems with telemedicine, exploit the EWABELT platform operating in 30 villages of 6 sub-Saharan countries to cope with food-security challenges, to provide education and skills to all in need, as activated in Sambaina in cooperation with the Municipality and the Ministry of Education; to bridge urban-rural social-economic interaction increasing e-agriculture and clean Hydrogen energy and many other proposals and projects. 
All inspired by the assumption that money itself is not able to mobilize communities’ ransom from poverty; but the sharing of knowledge and practices is where a specialist could assist all those in need remotely, in order to empower young and women, especially by tutoring the transfer of technologies and skills to resolve crucial problems. That is possible now because we are progressively all connected up and is useful also for the global system because it enlarges the market, now at risk of saturation. 
I agree: I am also convinced that E-welfare and the transfer of knowledge & technologies to all in need, could be the main winning option, where AI is the key factor, if properly oriented         
Finally let me thank: the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers; the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; the European Commission for funding the EWABELT Project; the International Council for Film and Television at UNESCO and the Society of the Diplomatic Review.
A special thanks also to our sponsors: the University of Oklahoma; the Christopher Smither’s Foundation; Giacomini SPA and HOMEOST for their support of the Conference. Thank you for your presence, I wish you a fruitful discussion, able to empower the UN system and strengthen its leadership to ensure peace and prosperity everywhere and for everyone. Thank you.”

The FINAL DECLARATION of the 23rd Infopoverty World Conference is now available! The Plan of Action including a list of projects and proposals that emerged from the discussion will be available soon. STAY TUNED!

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