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About me

I have so many stories to telL…

I am a citizen of the world who lived in four continents. 

I spent most of my career working with the United Nations as a humanitarian, and as a sustainable development practitioner. In those years, I led ground-breaking work on the ethical complexities, and potentials, of artificial intelligence. That work informs my debut novel Teaching Machines how to Cry. I hold a PhD in Human Geography and live in Portugal with my two sons. 

   © BH Photo



I live close to the Ocean.

When I watch the waves come and go, come and
go, while the rocks stay strong and anchored, I reflect on how we deal with emotions. We experience so many…, and each one, each time, is so unique, almost like waves are. And while we enjoy the smooth, playful waves, we try not
to collapse when massive, strong ones crash on us. Then, I consider the way we teach AI human emotions, and I wonder, – what are we teaching AI…?

   © Paula Hidalgo-Sanchis

Professional Background

I participated as keynote speaker, panelist, and moderator at + 30 international conferences advocating for the responsible use of digital data innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to date.

Conference on Complex Systems organized by the Complex Systems Society. / Innovations Dialogue organized by United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. / 12th ICT4D Conference organized by Catholic Relief Services.


World Data Forum organized by UN Statistics Division and Swiss Federal Statistical Office./ Big Data Forum Trinidad and Tobago organized by United Nations Trinidad and Tobago.

Data Science Africa 2020 organized by Academic Institutes in Africa./Berlin Summer Dialogue organized by the German Cooperation and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)./Data For Peace and Security Conference organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands.

Forum Media and Development (FOME) 2019 organized by a network or institutions and individuals in Germany./1st African Region Data Protection and Privacy International Conference organized by the Data Protection Commission of Ghana./11th ICT4D Conference organized by Catholic Relief Services./5th International Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping Symposium organized by the UN Partnership for Technology in Peacekeeping./ Data Science Africa 2019 Addis Ababa organized by Academic Institutes in Africa./ European Development Days 2019 organized by the European Commission (EC)./ Workshop on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) organized by UN ESCAP./ GSMA Mobile 360 Conference organized by the GSMA.

Artificial Intelligence for Good Summit organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).World Data Forum organized by UN Statistics Division and Statistics Authority UAE.Challenges of our era summit organized by NESTA.European Development Days 2018 organized by the European Commission (EC).International Symposium and Annual Conference of the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme organized by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)./ Istanbul Innovation Days 2018 organized by UNDP.

UN Global Pulse, A UN Innovation initiative with a multiplier effect. Data Science for Social Good. SpringerBriefs in Complexity. 2021.Opportunities for Big Data and Data Innovation for Evaluations. Examples from Uganda. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) · Jan 1, 2018.Experimenting with Big Data and AI to Support Peace and Security. United Nations Global Pulse · Jan 1, 2018. / Using Machine Learning to Analyse Radio Content in Uganda – Opportunities for Sustainable Development and Humanitarian Action. United Nations Globlal Pulse · 2017.Identifying seasonal mobility profiles from anonymized and aggregated mobile phone data. Application in food security. PLoS ONE · Jan 1, 2018.Development Co-operation report. Data for development. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE) · Jan 1, 2017.The Africa data revolution report. United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Development Research Centre of Canada and World Wide Web Foundation. · Jan 1, 2016.The data revolution, finding the missing millions. Oversees Development Institute (ODI) · Jan 1, 2015.Lead of national contribution (Surinam) to the Caribbean Human Development Report 2012 – Human Development and the Shift to Better Citizen Security. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) · Jan 1, 2012.Ph.D Thesis: Vulnerabilidad territorial y cooperación internacional (Vulnerability Analysis and International Assistance). Complutense University of Madrid · 2009.Author of scientific article: Vulnerabilidad Territorial y Cooperación Internacional, estudios de caso (Vulnerability Analysis and International assistance, case studies). Anales de Geografía de la Universidad Complutense · Jan 1, 2009.Co-author of UN Report: Post Disasters Need Assessment. Government of the Republic of Namibia and International Community. Goverment of Namibia · Jan 1, 2009.FAO/WFP Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission to the Democratic’s People’s Republic of North Korea. FAO, United Nations · 2008.Los niños de la calle en Managua, marginación y supervivencia en el espacio urbano (Street kids in Managua, marginalization and survival in an urban space)./ Anales de Geografía de la Universidad Complutense · Jan 1, 2006.

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