ICT4D in the Field

Community Service Learning, going Global


In June 2022 the international 6 EC master course ICT for Development In The Field takes place. ICT4D addresses problems of and solutions for the “unconnected people in the world”. This is close to half of the world’s population, the majority of whom live in poor, remote, often rural, regions of the world, often in so-called developing low/middle-income countries.

AI for Social good, in & for the Global South
This year’s theme is Artificial Intelligence in & for the Global South. AI is at the centre of
attention as an innovative ICT technology with a claimed wide range of beneficial application opportunities, although others express doubts and concerns. What impact can AI and Data Science have in a low resource context in the Global South? The course ICT4D in the Field undertakes to critically investigate these matters in and for the Global South, giving due attention to the specific contexts of people’s needs as well as different geographic, economic, cultural and socio-political contexts.

ICT4D in the Field Course setup

Students work in groups focused on different geographies (countries/regions) in the South
seeking to answer a number of key research questions:
(a) What is the state-of-play regarding applications of AI for Social Good relevant to
people in the Global South? Reference point are the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as ensuring food & nutrition security, reducing inequalities, health and well-being, etc.
(b) What are foreseeable adverse consequences, risks and social impacts related to innovation through AI, and how may they be mitigated?
(c) In consequence, what are the implications for the application of AI specifically in the context of the respective Global South countries or regions, in terms of policies, regulation, investment, social entrepreneurship, education, civil/civic debate?

This course is a co-production by VUA, UDS, UNIMAS and Aurora. It offers master students a
unique international experience on learning for societal impact. Based on principles of active and collaborative online international learning, it aims at discovering and designing ICT applications, information systems, apps or services — developed in conversation with and valuable for local communities.

Webinar and guest lectures: “AI in and for the Global South”

Early in the course, an open international Webinar “What Is AI and What Can It Be Used For?” is organized. It provides technology introductions to AI by guest speakers from academia and industry, highlighting current real-world applications of AI.

Course entry requirements

This interdisciplinary course is open for selected master students of VUA, UDS, UNIMAS and Aurora universities, having bachelor-level knowledge or experience in a relevant digital field (IS, CS, AI, digital humanities, computational social sciences, …).

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