Project Description

This project examines the emergence of artificial intelligence and machine-learning initiatives in South Africa. Artificial intelligence (AI) includes how machines are being programmed to learn and mimic the "natural" intelligence of humans to help them make decisions and engage in every day life. In South Africa, for example, computer algorithms are helping making decisions about who might get a job or a loan for a house. This research project searches the Internet for websites that make reference to artificial intelligence and machine-learning in South Africa, and then analyzes those websites. In its analysis it asks, who (e.g. people, companies, governments) is using and making artificial intelligence and machine-learning systems in South Africa? What language is being used to describe these systems, and give them value and meaning? How are concerns over AI and social justice being addressed (or not)? How are AI technologies related to concerns over gender, race, and sexuality? In doing so, this project seeks to understand anddemonstrate how AI and machine-learning is emerging in South Africa and how these systems arise in different ways in the global south.

Technology or Computational Component

The students will be researching a topic directly related to technology in terms of AI and machine learning. They will be doing data collection by finding and analyzing websites referring to the use of AI and machine-learning in South Africa, and then compiling their findings into an excel spreadsheet, and learning about qualitative data analysis using MAXQDA software.