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01 December 2023

Two upcoming events in Geneva and Zurich will look, respectively, at how AI might transform humanitarian organizations’ work and at how our built world intersects with the care we provide one another. Each is related to a distinct effort the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) supports through ETH Zurich.

First, on December 4, the Engineering for Humanitarian Action Initiative will hold a workshop on how advances in Natural Language Processing and Large Language Models might disrupt or be integrated into humanitarian agencies’ management of data.

The Engineering for Humanitarian Action Initiative, a partnership between ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that SNF supports as part of its Global Health Initiative (GHI), works to incubate scientific and technological innovations that improve service delivery to populations affected by humanitarian crises.

The aim of the workshop is to share with ICRC staff and other stakeholders background on these new technologies, potential use cases, and what ethical and safety considerations are at play.

Then, on December 5, Anna Puigjaner, Chair in Architecture and Care at ETH Zurich will give her inaugural lecture, provocatively entitled “Who Cares?” Professor Puigjaner, an architect by training, commented when she was appointed earlier this year that the moment we’re living in “requires a redefinition of care and rehabilitation provision, its related spaces, its labor economies and the bodies that provide it.”

The new professorship in Architecture and Care was launched and will be funded for a decade through support from SNF, also as part of its GHI.

Professor Puigjaner’s lecture will be streamed live.

ETH Zurich and SNF have enjoyed a longstanding and multifaceted collaboration encompassing a range of projects that seek to bridge gaps between research and meaningful improvements in people’s lives. SNF has supported the public research university’s CYBATHLON event, for instance, which aims to inspire research and development of technology to assist people with physical disabilities in going about their lives, while also encouraging dialogue on inclusion for people with disabilities.