[bestbits] GISWatch 2019 Call for Proposals: Country Reports

Valeria Betancourt valeriab at apc.org
Wed Apr 3 22:53:26 EDT 2019

Dear all,

We are happy to let you know that APC is launching a call for proposals
for the upcoming edition of GISWatch and invite you to send in your
submissions for country reports!

This year the theme is artificial intelligence, an exciting topic with
multiple angles to explore. Below you will find the terms of reference
for preparing your proposal (also attached as PDF) and do feel free to
distribute it among your network.

A reminder that the deadline to send in your proposals is *Friday 19
April 2019*

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. We look
forward to receiving your submissions!

Best wishes,

Valeria Betancourt
Association for Progressive Communications (APC) <https://www.apc.org/>


*Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) 2019*

Annual Report

*Call for proposals*

Terms of reference (TOR) for country reports

*Theme:    Artificial intelligence: Human rights, social justice and

_Deadline for proposals: 19 April 2019_


This 2019 edition of GISWatch will focus on the implications  of
Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems on human rights, social justice and
development in the local context, with a specific focus on countries in
the Global South.

AI is now receiving unprecedented global attention as it finds
widespread practical application in multiple spheres of activity: from
aviation and transport, to medicine, agriculture and climate change;
from policing, surveillance and military robotics, to warehouse
operations management, the provision of social services, smart
technology in the home, search engines and social media.

AI can be defined broadly as computer systems designed to perform tasks
in a way that is considered to be intelligent, including those that
“learn” through the application of algorithms to large amounts of data.
It is not a new phenomenon: it has been around for six decades at least.
But while definitions of AI (and subsets of AI) might vary, it is really
through the context of its conceptualisation, design and application
that the meaning and social implications of its use can be understood,
particularly as a result of how bias and power are embedded in AI systems.

The conversation on AI has so far been driven largely by Western and
Global North perspectives. However, the assumptions, values, incentives
and socio-economic environments within which AI technologies function
vary greatly across jurisdictions. There is no single metric that can be
applied to understand properly the success, pitfalls, and effects of AI
on societies across the world. The questions remain: What specific and
unique issues arise in different contexts? How can we make the
conversation around AI more global and inclusive from the outset?

We are interested in the human rights, social justice and development
implications of the application of AI in specific contexts, with an
emphasis on developing countries in the Global South. What effect do AI
systems have on the distribution of wealth and access to resources in
the digital era? What impact do these systems have on vulnerable and
marginalised populations around the world? How do they impact,
positively or negatively, human rights concerns such as privacy, freedom
of expression and association, access to information, access to work, to
organise and join trade unions, the right to food or housing, and the
right to life?  What are the political implications of the widespread
use of data in building AI systems? What does this mean from an
intersectional feminist perspective? Are there any implications for
transparency and accountability, or related concerns such as open
knowledge systems, open hardware and open internet architectures?

*How to participate in this call*

1) Read the instructions contained in this call, and if you wish to
participate, send your proposal before the deadline to GISWatch
production coordinator Maja Romano (maja at apc.org) and editor Alan Finlay
(editor at giswatch.org). The proposal, which should be written in English,
should reach us by 19 April 2019 at the latest, and include the
following information (no more than 400 words):

a) Name, organisation, country
b) Outline of the issue or topic you will write about. We need to know:
    i) What area of AI will you be exploring?
    ii) What is the context that you will be writing about? Include here
the specific social application of the AI technology you will be
discussing. We are interested in concrete, real-life situations that can
be described so that the implications of AI become "visible" for the
reader. One way to do this is to focus on a story or narrative (e.g. it
might involved a local community, a policy advocacy process, a new
technical development, an event, etc.) that helps to set the scene for
the broader discussion of AI and human rights in a concrete and
meaningful way. It is by exploring specific experiences at the local
level – rather than in a high-level abstract way – that the nuanced
implications of the use of technology can be understood.
    iii) What are the expected human rights and/or social justice and/or
development implications of the application of AI in this context that
you will be exploring?
    iv) What are the envisaged policy advocacy implications of your
report that you expect to discuss?
    v) Are there any specific research methods you will follow in
writing your report? For example, will you conduct interviews with
stakeholders, a survey or convene a workshop/meeting where others can
share their views?
    vi) How will you engage other civil society organisations working in
this field in your country?

2) The authors will be selected by middle of May. If you are selected
you will have to two months to write and submit your final report by 30
June 2019.

*More on the report writing process*

1) If your proposal is selected, the report you write on your chosen
topic must be written in English and have a maximum length of 2300
words. For consistency, the report should be developed using a template
that will be provided to authors. APC will provide you with background
readings and online training, and support you during the writing
process. Sharing your progress and ideas with other authors will make
the report even more cohesive and representative of the globalsituation,
and you will be able to do this through the mailing list that will be
set up for GISWatch country report authors selected for this edition.

2) Once submitted, your report will enter the editing process. The
report will be edited by the GISWatch editor, and returned to you for
clarifications or to respond to editorial comments. In order to ensure
consistency in the quality of reports published, editorial comments are
often substantial, so proper time needs to be allocated by the authors
to respond to the necessary questions and changes. This process will
take place from August until September 2019.

3) Once the final report has been accepted, organisations will receive a
payment in support of writing of 700 USD (seven hundred US dollars).

If you have questions do not hesitate to contact us: * GISWatch: Maja
Romano (GISWatch production coordinator,
maja at apc.org), cc'ing Alan Finlay (editor at giswatch.org). * Website:

We look forward to your report proposal! Remember the deadline is 19 April!

Important: Please note that the aim of GISWatch is to encourage local
participation in rights-based issues. Because of this, for this edition
it is critical that lead authors or organisations have residence in the
country they are writing about. Under certain circumstances, we may
accept proposals from lead authors who are not residents in a country
they wish to write about, such as proposals from displaced persons, or
authors who have strong firsthand experience in a country. Lead authors
may also wish to coordinate co-authors for the chapter and those
co-authors may not necessarily need to be based in the same country.

*Potential report angles*

While your report proposal should be concrete and specific in discussing
the local context (please see proposal requirements above), you might
want to use the suggestions below to explore some of the following
topics or as entry points for your analysis:

    * Gender: Feminist critiques of AI systems, including analysis on
the design, development, deployment, solutions and use of AI  systems.
    * Inclusivity: What are the various ways, whether through training,
policy or access, in which AI and machine learning systems exclude or
include vulnerable communities?
    * Technical considerations: What technical fixes or limitations are
important to consider in context of AI and machine learning systems in
specific contexts?
    * Design: How do design choices impact the use and effect of AI and
machine learning systems?
    * Human Rights: What is the nexus between AI and machine learning
and human rights in general?
    * AI and new forms of censorship: Given that AI is increasingly used
to police unlawful or infringing content, what implications does this
have for freedom of speech and expression? What about the increasing
demand to use AI tools to police online toxicity such as hate speech
against gender and minorities?
    * AI and privacy: From data used to train AI systems to AI
applications like facial recognition, what impact do AI and machine
learning systems have on privacy?
    * AI and data protection: How do AI and machine learning systems
interplay with data protection regimes across the world?  (The right not
to be subject to automated decision-making  / The right to an
explanation when people are legally or significantly affected by
automated decision-making.)
    * Economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs): How can the ESCRs
inform the ongoing debate about the impact and potential of AI and
machine learning systems? What are the human rights challenges of labour
automation? What about the positive implications of the use AI in
monitoring workers to improve their safety in the workplace?
    * Anti-trust: What competition impacts do AI and machine learning
systems have in economies?
    * Public and private accountability: What impact, positive or
negative, can AI and machine learning have on accountability mechanisms?
These can be technical, legal or social.
    * Economy: What is the impact of AI and automated systems in the way
in which resources and wealth are distributed locally?
    * Knock-on effect: How does AI and automated decision-making
intersect with and affect other structures and mechanisms of societal
    * Liability and responsibility: Who is responsible for consequences
of automated decision making, particularly when they causes harm or
negatively affect people? What are the regulatory compliance and
transparency minimum standards?
    * National security, law enforcement and the military use of AI,
such as Automated Weapons Systems (AWS) and the use of AI in cyberwarfare.


Deadline for proposals:          19 April 2019
Authors informed of accepted proposals: mid-May 2019
Authors to prepare country chapter:    May-June 2019
Deadline for country chapter:        30 June 2019
Editing process:            July-Aug 2019
Deadline for final country report:    31 August 2019

[Please see attached PDF for complete info.]

Valeria Betancourt
Directora / Manager
Programa de Políticas de Information y Comunicación / Communication and
Information Policy Programme
Asociación para el Progreso de las Comunicaciones / Association for
Progressive Communications, APC

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