Artificial Intelligence a practical introduction: 8 February, 11-13.00

Artificial Intelligence a practical introduction

@ TechNovation Talks

UNITAR Core Diplomatic Training 2018

8 February 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Conference Room D, United Nations Headquarters, New York


Secretary-General António Gutteres has emphasized the indispensable role of innovation in policy-making process on November 6, 2017: “From my perspective, what is important is to combine innovation and public policy to make sure that innovation works for the good of humankind.” In today’s world, technology is the driving force for innovation. Office of Information Communication Technology (OICT) will be offering a series of 4 lectures covering a variety of topics in order to increase the understandings on technology and how it can facilitate the core of the United Nations.

Participants in these lectures will receive trainings from technology experts from academia, private sector and OICT. The courses are designed to help participants better understand the current world’s issues with the help and appliances of modern technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analysis. This lecture’s objective is to develop participants’ capacities, increase participants’ knowledge on modern technologies and eventually, encourage and inspire innovations.


To enable participants to:

  • Gain knowledge on modern technologies and how they could be applied to social issues;
  • Understand the implications of technology for sovereignty and economic stability;
  • Anticipate and assess the risks and opportunities for the use of technologies in different regions and fields;
  • Analyze the benefits technologies could bring for the UN system and how it may change the policy-making process.


10:30: Registration

11:00 – 11:15 : 

Opening remarks by the Office of Information Communication Technology.

Opening remarks by UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

11:15 – 12:00:

Session 1: Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence.

12:00 – 12:45

Session 2: Applications of Artificial Intelligence for Citizen Well-being, Economic Development and Governments, a private-sector perspective.

12:45 – 1:00

Closing remarks by UN-OHRLLS and OICT.

To participate, please register at

or contact UNITAR NYO at or

Tel: (212) 963-4611 | Fax: (212) 963-9686



Session 1: Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence.

Ms. Cara LaPointe

Senior Fellow at the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, Georgetown University.

Artificial Intelligence is a topic increasingly mentioned in discussions relating to economics, ethics and policymaking. However, the understanding of this topic ranges widely between the people discussion these matters. This session will provide a practical introduction for participants with little or no computing background.

Session 2: Applications of Artificial Intelligence for Citizen Well-being, Economic Development and Governments, a private-sector perspective.

Mr. Sharad Sachdev, CFA

Artificial Intelligence North America Lead, Accenture.

Artificial Intelligence is an emerging technology with high potential to exponentially improve productivity in the private and public sectors. It is already showing impact in various facets of people’s lives, as influenced by public and private sector. However, it is also seen as a threat for its potential to cause unemployment and for exacerbating disparities between highly-developed countries and the rest, as well as between highly-skilled workers and the rest. This session will provide an overview of AI applications for Citizens, Communities and Governments which have a positive impact on society. It will share the projected impact of AI on economic and sector growth. It will also introduce the “Responsible AI movement” targeted to ensure responsible use of AI across private and public sectors.

Both of these interactive sessions will be followed by questions and answers from participants.


Cara LaPointe

Senior Fellow at the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation, Georgetown University

Ms. LaPointe is a futurist who has spent her career focused on the intersection of leadership, technology, policy and ethics.  Currently at the Beeck Center for Social Impact & Innovation at Georgetown University and previously as the Interim Director of the United States President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, Ms. LaPointe spent over two decades in the United States Navy, most recently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned Systems.  In that position, she helped lead the U.S. Navy’s efforts on unmanned and autonomous systems in all domains.  She is a patented engineer, and has conducted research in underwater robotics focusing on deep-ocean autonomous underwater vehicle navigation and sensor fusion algorithms. More at:

Sharad Sachdev, CFA

Artificial Intelligence North America Lead, Accenture

Sharad leads the AI Practice for Accenture in North America. As the lead, he focuses on bringing innovative advanced capabilities to the clients, built on machine learning techniques, unstructured data analytics, multi-media analytics, virtual agents, intelligent automation, etc.

Sharad has a cross-industry focus, with special emphasis on Financial Services, but also serving other industries such as Communication, Media, Telecom, Life Sciences etc. His work helps clients develop their AI Strategies and AI Operating Models, Data capabilities to support AI, and specific functional capabilities focused on Process Automation, Intelligent Customer Care, Risk Improvement, etc.

Sharad is part of the leadership team managing Accenture’s relationship with MIT, focused on advanced AI research tied to real-world client challenges, and he is also personally focused on developing AI-specific relationships in Canada with IVADO, HEC and MILA

He has co-authored articles in Harvard Business Review and InformationWeek, and co-authored thought leadership on numerous topics, such as spatial risk diffusion. He has recently presented Accenture’s perspective on AI to US Federal Advisory Committee for Insurance.

Prior to Accenture, Sharad was a founding member of an analytics/consulting firm, and prior to that he was with a global consultancy.

Sharad has completed his undergraduate in Electronics Engineering, followed by MBA in finance and is also a recipient of the CFA charter. More at: