artificial intelligence for global developmentThe human brain is limited when it comes to computing power and pattern recognition. Luckily, using recent technology, we are able to use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for global development purposes, can gain insight on a variety of problems and attempt to make predictions about the future. Computers can analyze massive datasets and learn from them more efficiently than humans can. Around the world, people are taking advantage of AI to do valuable work and improve people’s standard of living. Here are four examples of how people and organizations are using artificial intelligence for global development.

4 Ways to Use Artificial Intelligence for Global Development

  1. Based on patterns of past events, AI can make predictions about the occurrences and effects of disasters. In these situations, knowledge is everything; when people are informed, they can make plans to evacuate or reinforce infrastructure as needed. Google is using AI to predict flood locations during storms in India, and is then able to alert residents. Similarly, IBM is using AI to predict the location and intensity of volcanic eruptions based on past data. Another program by the World Bank is using AI to predict famines, and is arranging for funds to be provided to people in areas affected by famine.
  2. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can be used to advise people on best practices for farming efficiency. Microsoft has worked with farmers in India to help them monitor crop health, identify diseased plants and recommend certain crops based on weather patterns, soil conditions and economic patterns. In another case, Trinchero Family Estates in California partnered with Ceres Imaging, using AI to analyze their watering patterns. This technology, which uses drone images to optimize crop watering, could be useful for water conservation in areas where water is scarce.
  3. AI can help monitor human rights violations. Microsoft has partnered with the Clooney Foundation for Justice to create the TrialWatch app. The project, which is part of Microsoft’s AI for Humanitarian Action program, aims to monitor potentially unjust trials. The app uses AI to record, transcribe and translate courtroom audio, which can be used to determine whether a defendant has a fair trial. It will also form a database so that trial practices from various nations can be observed and compared.
  4. AI helps make analyzing medical data easier. Making decisions about medical diagnoses is often complicated and not entirely clear-cut. AI can analyze patient information and alert doctors to certain issues, often identifying problems more accurately than human medical professionals. A 2017 project from Andre Esteva at Stanford University used AI to classify skin cancer images, and the AI system performed on par with dermatologists. In addition, Professor Rima Arnaut of UC San Francisco has developed a system that uses AI to analyze an echocardiogram, a heart test. So far, the technology has not been used to make judgements about the content of the images, but in early tests in which the system was asked to detect the “type of view” of various echocardiograms, the AI system outperformed trained cardiologists in the task. Certainly many aspects of medical analysis require human analysis, but these programs can accelerate analyses and assist medical professionals in providing the best possible care for their patients.

These impressive uses of AI will save lives and will assist citizens of many countries in achieving a better standard of living. As experts continue to work on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and as computers become smarter and more capable, the use of artificial intelligence for global development will likely continue to improve conditions for people around the globe.

– Meredith Charney
Photo: Flickr

Clooney Foundation for JusticeFounded in 2016, by George and Amal Clooney, the Clooney Foundation for Justice seeks to “advance justice in courtrooms, classrooms and communities around the world.” The organization believes that justice requires advocating, through the court system, for the rights of those who are targeted by oppressive governments.

The foundation aims to fight for justice by advancing the principles of equality in susceptible and marginalized societies that are often targeted by hate. The fight also includes advocating for children who lack opportunities to learn and for refugees who are looking to create new lives for themselves abroad.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice has partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center to help combat hate here in the United States. The foundation provided the center with one million dollars to assist them in their efforts to combat violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center is regarded as the most prominent institution when it comes to monitoring the activities of hate groups and extremists in the U.S. The reason for the donation from the Clooney Foundation for Justice was the violence that occurred after a white nationalist gathering took place in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of this year.

“We are proud to support the Southern Poverty Law Center in its efforts to prevent violent extremism in the United States,” said George and Amal Clooney in a joint statement.

In an effort to provide education to Syrian refugee children, the Clooney Foundation for Justice partnered with UNICEF and donated $3.25 million to enroll thousands of children in school. The Clooneys stated that their donation stemmed from their belief in the fundamental importance of having a formal education. Without an education, Syrian refugee children would be unable to become a productive part of society. Approximately 200,000 Syrian refugee children are without access to education and learning opportunities as their lives have been centered around violence.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice has also developed a program known as TrialWatch, which is a program that monitors and reports on court trials around the world that pertain to human rights issues. A trial observer is placed in the courtroom to monitor the trial and share fairness reports with international lawyers. The program is working to advance equality and human rights for all. Amal Clooney is actually a world-renowned human rights attorney, making her an expert on human rights violations.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice is currently sponsoring the migration of Syrian and Yazidi refugees who have been approved to enter the United States through the Refugee Resettlement program. The organization plans to continue its efforts in providing support to these refugees.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Google