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  • Writer's pictureMatt Wallace

AI: A Silent Partner in Battling Poverty

Interested in how AI is revolutionizing small business support? Keen on diving deeper into AI’s role in global development? Check out our Bizzy online journey. Our series of webinars and articles will delve deeper into how AI is becoming a strong ally in combating poverty.


 

In a world where clicks can trigger global market shifts and digital platforms bring far-off communities closer, it's time we recognize AI not as just tech chatter, but as a real game-changer in battling poverty. As we venture into the digital terrain, the big question is: Can AI make a genuine difference for those in need, or is it just another fleeting tech promise?


At the recent ANDE Annual Conference, the esteemed Professor Mohammad Yunus addressed the conference during the opening plenary. His message was inspiring and timely, but I couldn't help but feel a bit targeted when he spoke about the threat of, "Artificial Intelligence, that we are creating now, which will destroy us completely...."



On the second day of the conference, I had the chance to dive into a talk called "Maybe ChatGPT Wrote This But We're Still Calling the Shots: Navigating AI & Business Support." I didn't really feel qualified to counter such a strong statement from the Professor, so I recalibrated my talk a bit to help the audience think in terms of tensions. It was an eye-opener on how AI can bolster business support while we business support experts remain at the helm. I emphasized that AI is a tool, not a substitute for our strategic insights. The idea is to use AI wisely to enhance our strategies for more solid business solutions. The positive resonance from the audience shed light on the importance and potential of smartly leveraging AI in our efforts to reduce economic disparity.



Unlocking AI’s Potential in Economic Growth

The promise of AI to drive down poverty is massive. It can sift through heaps of data to find solutions way quicker than we can. This means farmers getting timely advice to boost their crop yield or small entrepreneurs accessing microloans to kickstart their ventures. As I mentioned in my talk, "AI helps us offer network and offer mentorship and lets us offer individualized experiences so we can get away from templated, boring content."


Success stories across sectors show a clear pattern: sustainable growth springs from data-driven decisions. AI has shown to significantly improve education and healthcare access when applied with clear goals, uplifting whole communities in the process.


Building Better Networks with AI

Real-life examples show that AI is helping create networks that connect underprivileged individuals to essential services and opportunities. A World Bank report accentuated how such networks can ease entry barriers, share information freely, and spark innovation and growth. I shared at the conference, “We have deep relationships with many more entrepreneurs. We start to influence entire ecosystems. AI helps us do it.”


It’s crucial to question the impact of AI in different socioeconomic settings. What AI does for us is it helps us offer network and offer mentorship and lets us offer individualized experiences so we can get away from templated, boring content.


For those ready to dive in, AI offers real solutions to old problems. Teaming up with AI experts and local stakeholders can lead to custom AI tools that tackle specific challenges, setting the stage for a future where tech and humanity advance together. The experiments we've been running with our prototype AI bot, Bizzy, underline the potential of AI in supporting business model development and providing an almost like an ask-me-anything coach for entrepreneurs.


A Warning

"AI will end loneliness."

"AI can create a new business for you."

"AI is your constant companion."


These statements are so dangerous, and so disappointing.


If your program for business support is a templated training, lecture-based and easily repeatable, then I have bad news for you. Your program will be eliminated by AI, because it does these things well.


But if your program is about building individualized support, focused on problem solving, risk management, and developing growth mindset in the business owners you serve, then AI can not only help, it can actually improve your output by an order of magnitude.


Conclusion

The idea of using AI to fight poverty isn’t far-fetched; it’s happening right now. By focusing on community-centric solutions and smart implementation, AI is making a big difference in the lives of many. But this is just the starting line. To unlock AI’s full potential, we need to be part of this change, explore innovative solutions, and work towards a future where tech acts as a bridge to a fairer world.

 

Keen on diving deeper into AI’s role in global development? Check out our Bizzy online journey. Our series of webinars and articles will delve deeper into how AI is becoming a strong ally in combating poverty.

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