Democratizing Artificial Intelligence

A reflection on open and inclusive AI with Lea Gimpel and Balthas Seibold from GIZ’s FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All

Imagine a world where AI-powered apps support local farmers all over the world to detect crop diseases in real-time.

Imagine a world where everyone has open and free access to AI training data, educational resources, and AI technologies. 

Imagine a world where AI breaks down existing barriers to human development and social inclusion, helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lea Gimpel and Balthas Seibold, co-leads of FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All, shared their vision with us. The FAIR Forward project is a German Development Cooperation (GIZ) initiative funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project promotes a more open, inclusive, and sustainable approach to artificial intelligence (AI) on the international level.

Global AI development should be rooted in inclusivity. Democratizing AI means opening up access to AI technologies, localized training data, and open educational resources. “AI holds the potential to become a transformative technology driving global digital development,” they affirmed.

FAIR Forward is also an associate partner of the AI Lab, Leading with AI: Ignite and build your AI-driven ideas. To learn and co-create with changemakers worldwide, the Global Leadership Academy and the International Training Centre of the ILO created this online collaboration platform. From August to November 2020, Lab participants will collectively make human-centred AI innovations a reality.  

“We are most looking forward to being surprised.”

Lea Gimpel

“We need a forum like the AI Lab to foster an inclusive and open discussion about the nuts and bolts of artificial intelligence,” Lea and Balthas explained. They see this as an opportunity to detect actionable ideas and solutions for a more inclusive AI agenda.

AI innovation in action

But how exactly could AI spearhead positive change? For Lea and Balthas, the answer is clear: AI can break down human development and social inclusion barriers, accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. “AI offers digital entrepreneurs new tools to build innovative products,” they stressed. For example, farmers in Tunisia and India could detect crop diseases in real-time through AI-powered apps. 

However, this requires a shift. The capacity, technology, and data to train AI are not equally distributed, excluding low and middle-income countries from these opportunities.  

“We need a much more open development of AI systems.”

Balthas Seibold

Leading with AI: Ignite and build your AI-driven ideas and discover FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All.

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