Articles  |    |  March 1, 2020

Artificial intelligence and sustainable development

Article by Margaret A.Goralskia and Tay Keong Tan.
Published in The International Journal of Management Education.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly opening up a new frontier in the fields of business, corporate practices, and governmental policy. The intelligence of machines and robotics with deep learning capabilities have created profound disrupting and enabling impacts on business, governments, and society. They are also influencing the larger trends in global sustainability. As the AI revolution transforms our world, it could herald a utopian future where humanity co-exists harmoniously with machines, or portend a dystopian world filled with conflict, poverty and suffering. More immediately, would AI accelerate our progress on the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or bring us further down the path toward greater economic uncertainty, environmental collapse, and social upheaval? What are some of the implications for business leadership and the education of future business leaders? This article aims to address these questions by analyzing the impacts of AI in three case studies. It draws some preliminary inferences for management education and the business of leading corporations in the midst of rapid technological and social change. This study combines the perspectives of business strategy and public policy to analyze the impacts of AI on sustainable development with a specific focus on the advancement of the SDGs. It also draws some lessons on managerial learning and leadership development for global sustainability.


  • AI is already creating profound impacts on business and society.
  • Businesses must proactively meet the challenge of new AI applications.
  • AI can significantly affect the work of advancing the SDGs.
  • Harnessing its benefits and mitigating its risks require planning and collaboration.
  • Management education must keep pace with the emerging AI revolution.