The master-level “ICT4D in the Field” is the first course in the Aurora pilot “Digital Society and Global Citizenship”. Previously, this course has been carried out in a real-world environment. Students were exposed to complex contexts and real-world challenges. They design and implement practical, user-centred and sustainable socio-technological solutions for disadvantaged communities according to a Community Service Learning (CSL) approach. This year the course has been “Aurorized”,, i.e. redesigned as part of the Aurora Alliance educational pilot, into “collaborative online international learning” while maintaining its global and Community Service flavour. The course’s central theme this year will be: “Artificial Intelligence in and for the Global South”

Currently, AI is at the centre of attention as an innovative ICT technology with a wide range of beneficial application opportunities. However, others express doubts and concerns about various developments as undesirable or dangerous. Heavy investments to boost AI and Data Science are taking place in the Global North, particularly in the big power blocks of the US, Europe and China. The course ICT4D in the Field undertakes to investigate these matters in and for the Global South, thereby giving due attention to the specific contexts of people's needs and the different geographic, economic, cultural and socio-political contexts.

Students will work in groups focused on different geographies (countries/regions) in the South seeking to answer a number of key questions:

  • What is the state-of-play regarding AI applications for the Social Good relevant to people in the Global South? Here, one may think as a reference point of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as combating hunger, ensuring food security, reducing inequalities, etc.
  • What is associated with foreseeable negative or adverse consequences, risks, and social impacts related to the application of AIs, and how may they be mitigated?
  • In consequence, what are the implications to be drawn for the application of AI specifically in the context of the respective Global South countries or regions, in terms of policies, regulation, investment, education, civil/civic debate?

The course will take place in June 2021. It will involve lectures and workshop talks, informed argument writing, reviewing and discussion, collaborative project group work, and presentation. This full-time course is concentrated on four weeks. Master students are invited to apply by sending a motivation letter. However, the course can host a limited number of participants only.

The course targets students doing masters in information sciences, artificial intelligence, computer science, digital humanities, computational social science, but other digital multidisciplinary domains are welcome to apply.

For more information, please contact Dr Anna Bon (a.bon@vu.nl). Please access the flyer of this course here