With only ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), development organizations rapidly need to innovate their approach to decision making and problem solving. New lessons and understandings, born from emerging uses of technology, can enable these innovations. This position paper uses the new paradigm of intelligence — which includes data intelligence, artificial intelligence, collective intelligence, and embodied intelligence — to provide development practitioners, policymakers, and decision-makers with an overview of the benefits and risks associated with various emerging uses of technologies. These assessments are illustrated where possible with examples from the field. It recommends the creation of a decision-making framework to help practitioners determine whether to invest in emerging technologies and how such technologies can effectively support development objectives. This early framework iteration focuses on carefully defining the relevant development objectives while taking into account the prevailing environment before addressing the solution by assessing the maturity, challenges, cost implications and risks of the technology’s use as well as the presence of enablers or disablers that could determine its impact and appropriateness.
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