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Refugee Communities Can Be Built By Tech Industries

Mikkelsen said the initiative was a win-win as it would also benefit companies by slashing costs.

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Refugees
Congolese families sit at the Kyangwali refugee settlement camp, Uganda, March 19, 2018. A California company is testing an app in Uganda that lets refugees earn money for AI training. VOA

Companies could help refugees rebuild their lives by paying them to boost artificial intelligence (AI) using their phones and giving them digital skills, a tech nonprofit said Thursday.

REFUNITE has developed an app, LevelApp, which is being piloted in Uganda to allow people who have been uprooted by conflict to earn instant money by “training” algorithms for AI.

Wars, persecution and other violence have uprooted a record 68.5 million people, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

People forced to flee their homes lose their livelihoods and struggle to create a source of income, REFUNITE co-chief executive Chris Mikkelsen told the Trust Conference in London.

Rohingya, Myanmar, refugees
Rohingya refugees cross floodwaters at Thangkhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district. VOA

“This provides refugees with a foothold in the global gig economy,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s two-day event, which focuses on a host of human rights issues.

$20 a day for AI work

A refugee in Uganda currently earning $1.25 a day doing basic tasks or menial jobs could make up to $20 a day doing simple AI labeling work on their phones, Mikkelsen said.

REFUNITE says the app could be particularly beneficial for women as the work can be done from the home and is more lucrative than traditional sources of income such as crafts.

The cash could enable refugees to buy livestock, educate children and access health care, leaving them less dependant on aid and helping them recover faster, according to Mikkelsen.

Rohingya, Myanmar, refugees
Rohingya refugee women wait outside of a medical center at Jamtoli camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. VOA

The work would also allow them to build digital skills they could take with them when they returned home, REFUNITE says.

“This would give them the ability to rebuild a life … and the dignity of no longer having to rely solely on charity,” Mikkelsen told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Teaching the machines

AI is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.

It is being used in a vast array of products from driverless cars to agricultural robots that can identify and eradicate weeds and computers able to identify cancers.

Refugees
In this Aug. 27, 1994 file photo, U.S. Coast Guard crew from the cutter Staten Island are hindered by rough seas in the Florida Straits as they attempt to rescue Cuban refugees. VOA

In order to “teach” machines to mimic human intelligence, people must repeatedly label images and other data until the algorithm can detect patterns without human intervention.

REFUNITE, based in California, is testing the app in Uganda where it has launched a pilot project involving 5,000 refugees, mainly form South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. It hopes to scale up to 25,000 refugees within two years.

Also Read: Rohingyas Repatriation to Myanmar Scrapped by Bangladesh

Mikkelsen said the initiative was a win-win as it would also benefit companies by slashing costs.

Another tech company, DeepBrain Chain, has committed to paying 200 refugees for a test period of six months, he said. (VOA)

Next Story

Microsoft Claims Spurt Adoption of Artificial Intelligence In India

According to Microsoft, the company is busy democratising AI and is making the technology available on Azure Cloud to empower developers and institutions in solving difficult problems.

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AI
India is digitally ready for a comprehensive AI framework aligned to industries' long-term strategy. Pixabay

There has been a spurt in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across industries in India and cloud infrastructure and rapid deployment of intelligent Cloud services will further drive AI adoption in the country, Microsoft India said on Wednesday.

In a white paper titled “Age of Intelligence,” Microsoft said the focus is to create modern mobile infrastructure, skill up the workforce and reduce data costs and cross-industry collaboration, thus extending information connectivity and digital services to the underserved segments of the population.

“Our ambition is to enable a human-centered approach to AI. India is currently at an inflection point in the adoption of AI,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India as the company unveiled the white paper at the Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2019 here.

AI
In a white paper titled “Age of Intelligence,” Microsoft said the focus is to create modern mobile infrastructure, skill up the workforce and reduce data costs and cross-industry collaboration, thus extending information connectivity and digital services to the underserved segments of the population. Pixabay

“Building on the four foundational pillars — enabling digital transformation across industries, forging coalitions for innovation, building a future-ready workforce and creating sustained societal impact — will unlock and accelerate the potential of AI,” Maheshwari added.

The white paper outlines challenges and opportunities with respect to AI and how balanced and forward looking government policies, technological advancements including growing Internet penetration and connectivity will help reap benefits of digital transformation in the years to come.

According to Microsoft, the company is busy democratising AI and is making the technology available on Azure Cloud to empower developers and institutions in solving difficult problems.

AI
There has been a spurt in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across industries in India and cloud infrastructure and rapid deployment of intelligent Cloud services will further drive AI adoption in the country, Microsoft India said on Wednesday.
Pixabay

“AI enables organizations to make better informed decisions by making it easy to derive insights from data, helping them expand and improve customer engagement and experiences, optimize operations and improve offerings,” read the white paper.

Also Read: Network Service Providers Pledge To Reduce The Gender Gap Between Mobile Phone Users In India By 2020
India is digitally ready for a comprehensive AI framework aligned to industries’ long-term strategy.

“With the size of the market and opportunity for growth, it’s imperative to implement AI for India that brings economic, societal and inclusive growth,” Microsoft noted. (IANS)