At a policy conference in the German city of Bonn, videogame and augmented reality (AR) tech was in use to enhance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in world’s first ‘playable’ UN conference.
Gmers and activists teamed up to address some of the most complex problems facing the world today. Instead of just speeches, debates and presentations, attendees at the conference could also try out a ‘hands-free gardening’ app developed by software company Huxley.
Ryan Hooks, manager of Huxley, told UN News; “It’s an AI (Artificial Intelligence) and augmented reality for plants. Greenhouses that use hydroponics to circulate the water are very complex systems and it’s hard to scale water efficient food solutions. I’ve found that augmented reality and AI can be really useful for reducing labour cost.” Hooks then demonstrated the app by pointing it at a plant on the table, which the app identified as ‘apple mint’. “It’s augmented reality, it knows what kind of plant it is,” he explained, “what percentage its health is, when to pick it, pack it, ship it and the environment (around it), so people can have hands-free augmented gardening.” [sic]
Conference attendees could also participate in the 2030 Hive Mind game, where players had the chance to manage a hypothetical country, plan it’s policies and try and convince other players to support your ideas. The conference organisers say the game is designed to reflect the trade-offs and tough choices that policy makers may be faced with in real life if sustainable development is to be achieved.
Cristina Gallach, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, said; “We have to make the world aware of this […] agenda that is definitely going to transform the planet and that is going to ensure that no one is left behind. The more we communicate about the SDGs and make people aware of the agenda, the more the governments we will be accountable and will ensure that it is implemented.”
To further illustrate the purpose of the conference and the SDGs, 17 icons have been created to represent each goal, each with it’s own colour, short name or phrase and a distinctive image. These icons and their attached phrases have been translated into over 50 languages.