AI for social good and the corporate capture of global development

Gianluca Iazzolino, Nicole Stremlau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article focuses on the AI for Social Good (AI4SG) movement, whichaims to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) toachieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).It argues that, through AI4SG, Big Tech is attempting to advance AI-driven technosolutionism within the development policy and scholarlyspace creating new opportunities for rent extraction. The article situatesAI4SG, within the history of ICT4D. It also highlights the contiguity ofAI4SG with the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), a frameworkthat places AI and other digital innovations at the center of nationaland international development and industrial policy agendas. Byexploring how Big Tech has attempted to depoliticize datafication, wethus suggest that AI4SG and 4IR are mutually reinforcing discoursesthat serve the purpose of depoliticizing the development arena by bestowing legitimacy and authority to Big Tech to reshape policyspaces and epistemic infrastructures while inserting themselves, to anunprecedented degree, between the citizen (data) and the state(development and policy)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalInformation Technology for Development
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2024


  • AI4SG
  • Big Tech
  • ICT4D
  • political economy


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