How will artificial intelligence benefit us as individuals in all our various roles – as parents, caregivers, students, citizens and advocates?

What part does this technology play in improving society at large? How is it helping us stay safe and well? How is it supporting our most vulnerable people and protecting our planet for future generations?

We’ve talked with more than 60 thoughtful pioneers who are on the frontlines applying cognitive technology for social good. They understand that tackling society’s toughest challenges requires the best of human and machine intelligence, not one or the other. They believe in augmented intelligence, not artificial intelligence. And they feel a responsibility to help usher in this new technology in a principled way.

They’re moving fast on innovation that matters. Some initiatives are in early days; others have already made great strides. But they’re all laser-focused on one thing: the shared vision of a healthier, safer, less wasteful, and more productive, prosperous and just world.


Social services

Cognitive technology is helping to strengthen and extend social safety nets by addressing some of the key challenges that typically impede provision and delivery, such as data inaccessibility, complexity and the rate of caseworker churn. With this technology, insight can be extracted from existing data to not only develop personalized services plans but also to help understand vulnerability from a macroscopic view. Cognitive technology will be like having the best caseworkers on every case—translating into better protection for at-risk groups.


The growing human impact on our natural world is galvanizing nations, organizations and citizens to come together to protect the environment for future generations. It's no easy challenge since the relevant information is often siloed and decision makers are reluctant to act without a high degree of certainty. Despite these challenges, cognitive technology is paving the way forward for better conservation of natural resources, earlier pollution detection, greener choices for consumers, and learning from nature's ecosystems.


Public safety

As citizens, our well-being can depend on decisions made by public health and safety officials. In these high-stakes situations, cognitive computing can provide officials with greater insight and better situational awareness, enabling our protectors to protect us more effectively. Early adopters are using these new capabilities to combat epidemics, manage disasters and fight crime. However, as these solutions permeate the public safety world, they’re also sparking important conversations about privacy, policy and trust.


The broad vision of augmented intelligence is ideally suited to transform global education—not only formal education, but also learning that takes place outside of the classroom. By combining the unique capabilities of humans and machines, cognitive technology is poised to reach large population segments educators alone cannot. Many expect an unprecedented symbiosis between humans and machines that fosters personalized, engaging and ubiquitous learning experiences.