Prateek Sibal from UNESCO and policy in Artificial Intelligence

September 1, 2019
Prateek Sibal, UNESCO at the workshop “Toward a Network of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence for Development (AI4D) in sub-Saharan Africa”, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2019

What are you working on at the moment?

My name is Prateek, I am a policy researcher, I studied economics and public policy and now I work at the intersection of technology, policy and society. Some of the things that we are trying to understand are how is technology influencing human rights, access to information, openness about the information and how is the governance about AI and other emerging technologies changing in the world.

How do you perceive development and Artificial Intelligence?

I think it’s rather interesting the way you put it how AI is powering development and how development is using AI, I think it’s both ways. But at the heart of the issue is people. We have to be cognizant that there is a significant digital divide in this world and there are a lot of people who are still not online.

Even as we talk about development in the discussions that we had today, there are so many issues that emerge, we talk about online learning, but the internet is so expensive in some countries, so they have to use WhatsApp.

There are very fundamental challenges in development that we need to address, along with communities and being informed by their way of doing things. I think that is super important as we go ahead framing the AI and development agenda.

What is your blue sky project in Africa?

I think human capacity is something which I believe we all need to focus on, and there is so much need in developing countries to breach that divide, to build capacity to help governments to shape policies to support research centres and it will have a ripple effect. This is something which cannot happen overnight and hence building developing capacities is the key, I think if we were to go forward in this.