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Artificial Intelligence, The Global South Looking For A Place in The World New Order

Amilcar Romero* | Posted : February 11, 2020

As founder & president at the Ankawa International – The Ankawa Global Group, I had the privilege to represent twice, in the field of new technologies, my organization during the last two Paris Peace Forum (2018-2019), as a leading organization from the global south (Peru).

For us, these participations were important in order to showcase the kind expertise developed in our programs currently implemented for advancing social transformation, the ultimate goal of the organization, from a civil society perspective. We wanted to demonstrate also to the international community that the global south can lead the world in a new era. In fact, the challenges of tomorrow require a new insights, hence, we as an organization from a developing country, we consider that the new world order should be built by those who can provide new and innovative inputs. Thence, we have to demonstrate that we can do it better and for all.

It is worth noting that, at the Ankawa International Organization, we understand peace not merely as “the absence of war” but also as “good governance” and “sustainable development”. There is no peace where abject poverty, corruption or ill governance is present. Although progress has been made to tackle these issues at a global scale, it is not enough, it is necessary to do it faster and better. Consequently, it is necessary to innovate. In order to innovate it is necessary to use new technologies available to help us better understand the phenomenons taking place in a specific country, this is the reason why the Ankawa Organization is pioneering the development artificial intelligence for social good.

However, this cannot be done without having a real and in-depth understanding of the local context. Indeed, another key element to consider in order to effectively fight climate change, poverty or urban violence is do it bottom-up not otherwise. It is a common mistake, from international cooperation, to foster governance but top-down, even with no participation of local people in the design and implementation of development programs (i.e. Haiti). This the reason why, all our social transformation programs, are implemented on the ground alongside grassroots organizations and with the direct participation of local leaders and experts.

Artificial Intelligence Can Reduce Poverty (Paris Peace Forum 2018)

During the Paris Peace Forum 2018, Ankawa was selected by the Paris Peace Forum Steering Committee to introduce to the international community our initiative related to the implementation of artificial intelligence to optimize public service on the ground through satellite imagery.

In association with state-of-the-art research centers, Ankawa has developed a 3D Printed Satellites System to monitor urban and rural areas in order to track the effectiveness of public services on the ground. Those images, alongside other satellite imagery sources – from different years - were analyzed through artificial intelligence algorithms. The artificial intelligence developed by Ankawa could scan these images, allowing us to identify the areas of a city – street by street, house by house – that were not receiving effective socio-economic programs provided by national or international authorities. In addition to these outcomes, the organization, was able to prevent – through this technology – pandemic outbreaks, environmental risks, etc. 

To thrive this technology from the global south, from a Peruvian organization, sent an important message to the international community regarding the potential of social impacts of artificial intelligence if applied for good. We showed that it is not only possible to create it, but also to implement it in developing countries by developing countries.

Artificial Intelligence Can Prevent Gender Violence (Paris Peace Forum 2019)

Through our human rights programs, we realized that Peru is one of the top countries where women suffer the most from gender violence in the world. In consequence, we created a specialized sector –within our organization – to fight gender violence. This program was called “Deizy Beltran” in memoriam of my mother – who was a life-long women’s rights defender –. The Deizy Beltran Program determined that decision-makers were lacking information regarding the real causes behind gender violence. Hence, in order to create a gender-oriented policy, it was necessary to assess the situation on the ground. This is the reason why we decided to adapt our technology to the issue of gender violence.

The algorithm started tracking and analyzing a vast amount of information from different sources (private, public, national or international) and from different areas such as human development, access to education, health, public transportation, public services, etc. This platform could scientifically measure the degree of impact of each item on the increase or decrease of gender violence. By doing so, we could identify those elements that were playing a role in the level of violence suffered by women, at the national, regional, and local levels. Our algorithm could go as far as identifying the patterns house-by-house.

We are delighted to inform that many governments and international organizations demonstrated interest in adopting this technology, and with the support of our partners, we hope to do so in the upcoming months.

Artificial Intelligence is the New World Order

Actually, the uses of artificial intelligence are endless, it can be applied either for the evil or for the good; however, it is our statement that the reform of global governance – as the Paris Peace Forum is looking for - cannot skip this issue, otherwise, it will become a major threat for global peace.

International organizations should consider a new approach towards artificial intelligence in order to foster its development for the benefit of humankind, opening a new perspective for its progress not for its oppression (as it happening with authoritarian regimes). Artificial intelligence will change everything and soon will replace democracy and decision-makers as the most reliable form of governance. It may replace not only people but also governments, thus generating potential conflicts in democratic societies. In this process, international organizations such as the United Nations should give a leading voice to civil society organizations – mainly from the global south -. Only the participation of civil society organizations will generate a minimum level of transparency to this whole new process, in contrast, governments and big companies will create more distrust and abuse of this new technology.

*Amilcar Romero is Alumnus of Atlantic Dialogues Emerging Leaders 2018.

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