Webinar Artificial Intelligence in and for the Global South – all talks and abstracts

The Open International Webinar Artificial Intelligence in & for the Global South  What is AI and what can it be used for? took place online, from  02-04 June 2021, with 145 participants from Asia, Africa and Europe, including master students from VU Amsterdam (Netherlands), UDS (Ghana) and UNIMAS (Malaysia) and Aurora European universities.

This Webinar is part of the international online community service learning course “ICT4D in the Field”, and is part of the Aurora Alliance project in the domain “Digital Society and Global Citizenship”. It is supported by the EU Erasmus+ program for international staff and student mobility between the participating universities Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, UDS and UNIMAS.

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All video lectures in sequence:

André Baart:

“André did a quick-dive into the fascinating world of Artificial Intelligence. We uncover what AI really is and what its advantages may be, by looking into a range of real-life applications. We explain the working mechanisms behind technologies such as Deep Learning and Expert Systems, and discuss when, how and why they are useful to apply.”

Gossa Lô:

“Gossa elaborates on her master thesis research: “Exploring West African Folk Narrative Texts using Machine Learning”. In this research, she conducted a cross-cultural examination of West African and Western European folktales, using Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing techniques. The presentation highlights the usefulness of Machine Learning in analyzing culture-specific information and knowledge captured in natural language.”

As an extra, master student AI, George Vlad Stan pitched a multi-language voice crowdsourcing experiment.

Vlad Stan:


Francis Dittoh:

“Recent years have seen increased interest in ICT solutions for low- resourced environments including Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that seek to aid development in both urban and rural areas. There are however major barriers in the implementation of such solutions which need to be actively factored into research and development. I will examine these issues in the context of existing real-world use cases and analyze what bearing this will have on implementations of AI solutions in low-resourced environments.”

Chris van Aart:

“Several tasks that require human intelligence are inhumanly large. By adding human knowledge to traditional ICT systems, we can create a form of artificial intelligence. This talk highlights how to acquire specialist knowledge from experts, how to store specialist knowledge and how to apply them in intelligent software.”


Frank Bennis:

“Machine learning research in medicine is becoming increasingly prevalent and has great potential. However, implementation by clinicians is lacking. We explore the potential of data analytics in medicine, how it can be applied and what hurdles still stand in the way.”


Narayanan Kulathuramaiyer:

“Scientific research involving remote rural communities is often plagued by a lack of understanding of what constitutes Indigenous Knowledge. Through a long-standing community-university partnerships in working with rural communities in the Borneo Malaysian state of Sarawak, we address this concern in presenting directions for shaping digital socio-technical innovation.”


Victor de Boer:

“While Knowledge Graphs (KGs) are practically successful in many domains, the technologies and applications themselves are often not designed or suited for end users in rural, developing areas. I identify three challenges for KGs to be(come) a truly universal way of sharing knowledge. I also discuss current work around poly-vocality of Knowledge Graphs in representing cultural heritage data.”


Annette ten Teije:

“Composing computer-interpretable clinical guidelines has already many advantages like identifying inconsistency, ambiguities, missing information. Finding such anomalies improves the quality of guidelines. In this talk I show also how computer interpretable guidelines can be used for finding interactions between guidelines. This is important for treating people with multiple diseases.”


Jaap Gordijn:

“The promise of blockchain technology is reducing the role of the middleman in ecosystems. Digital middlemen, such as Facebook, Google, WeChat, etc., take very powerful positions. We argue that for the benefit of society, these centralized ecosystems should be organized in a fairer way. In the Global North, the power position of centralized middlemen seems hard to address; the Global South offers opportunities as such middlemen are less present. We introduce the concept of blockchain and how it can help to build decentralized fair ecosystems.”


This last talks ends an awesome 3-day Webinar, about a  timely, advanced and societally oriented theme: “AI in and for the Global South”, brought together by experts from academia and industry, from different disciplines and perspectives: and most importantly: from three different continents: Asia, Africa and Europe.


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