From its role in finance and agriculture, to healthcare and education, AI will soon permeate every aspect of our daily lives. But the part it can play in creating positive change in the world, is what arguably offers the most exciting potential for the future.

There’s no question AI will be a powerful force in society, and that ensuring responsible use and adherence to global pacts, such as The Bletchley Declaration — signed by 28 nations at the UK’s AI Safety Summit in November  — will be a key focus for leaders around the world.

Exploring the benefits Artificial Intelligence brings, and how we can harness its power for positive change, is at the heart of ITN Business’ new programme, AI and Big Data: A Force for Good — launched this week at the AI and Big Data Expo.

One inspiring story from our programme explores the work of non-profit organisation, Kickstart AI, formed in 2019, when four of the biggest Dutch companies joined forces to further the use of AI in the Netherlands.

Kickstart AI’s vision is to make AI a force for good, kickstarting initiatives around the country to make a positive impact on society.

Sander Stomph, Co-founder and CEO of Kickstart AI
Sander Stomph, Co-founder and CEO of Kickstart AI

As a growing community of data scientists and software engineers, Kickstart AI have used their technology and expertise to help with the growing problem of food poverty in the Netherlands.

“A million people are living in poverty,” says Letty Broere, a Board Member for the charity Dutch Food Bank. “There are 400,000 people who need food help, and a third of them are children under the age of 12.”

Letty Broere
Letty Broere, Board Member of Dutch Food Bank

120,000 people are supported each week through food banks in the Netherlands, and now Kickstart AI has created a partnership with Dutch Food Bank to assist their operation.

“We believe that data science is shaping our collective future, and we want to positively impact society through AI,” says Kickstart AI co-founder and CEO, Sander Stomph. He explains that they’ve chosen to work with the foodbank because it’s at the heart of Dutch society.

Listen to our AI & Big Data podcast
Listen to our AI & Big Data podcast

“When it comes to problems in society, or opportunities — depending how you frame it — I think the food bank speaks to everyone,” he says.

They’ve already used their technology, working with one of the largest supermarkets in the Netherlands, to reduce food waste.

Carmen Martinez, a research scientist for Kickstart AI, has been able to use AI tools to enable the foodbank team to be able to predict areas where there is, or could be, greater need for food support.

The team have been able to employ the use of AI for customers too. With language often a barrier for those who need help, they’ve created a website chatbot which is able to answer questions and queries in multiple languages.

Keen to learn more? Watch the full programme here, and discover how AI is changing the world for the better.