There has been great interest in information and communication technology for development (ICT-D) over the last several years. The work is diverse and extends from information technologies that provide infrastructure for micropayments to techniques for monitoring and enhancing the cultivation of crops. While efforts in ICT-D have been interdisciplinary, ICT-D has largely overlooked opportunities for harnessing machine learning and reasoning to create new kinds of services, and to serve a role in analyses of data that may provide insights about socioeconomic development for disadvantaged populations. The unprecedented volume of data currently being generated in the developing world on human health, movement, communication, and financial transactions provides new opportunities for applying machine learning methods to development efforts, however. Our aim is to foster the creation of a subfield of ICT-D, which we refer to as artificial intelligence for development (AI-D), to harness these opportunities. To this end, we hope the AAAI Spring Symposium at Stanford will serve as a focal point to bring together a critical mass of researchers who are interested in applying AI research to development challenges.
The goals of the symposium will be to (1) identify a core set of AI-D researchers, (2) explore key topics and representative projects in this realm, and (3) to lay out an ontology of AI-D research challenges and opportunities. We are seeking original contributions in the form of both full papers and position papers on a wide range of related topics. For example, papers could address the potential for machine reasoning to make valuable off-line and real-time inferences from the large-scale mobile phone data sets currently being generated in the developing world. Such analytics could provide a better understanding of social relationships and information flows in disadvantaged societies, as well as guiding and monitoring ICT-D interventions and public policy, and giving insight into population responses to crises. Other topics would include exploring how machine learning and inference could help us understand human mobility patterns, yielding, for example, real-time estimates of the progression of disease outbreaks and guiding public health interventions. Machine reasoning could also provide remote areas with medical support through automated diagnosis, along with guidance for the effective triaging of limited resources and human medical expertise. Additional potential topics include instant machine translation for better communication and coordination among people who speak different languages, user modeling for online tutoring, investment advisory tools, and simulation, modeling, and decision support for agricultural optimization.
The AAAI Artificial Intelligence for Development Spring Symposium at Stanford will help define this new research area, and identify the next steps to establishing a sustainable and vibrant AI-D research community.
The AI-D Spring Symposium program has been posted here.
Interested participants should submit full papers (6 pages) and position papers (2 pages) in AAAI format to submissions@AI-D.org. Selected papers from the symposium will be published as an AAAI technical report.
• Submissions for the symposia are due on October 31, 2009
• Notification of acceptance will be given by November 27, 2009
• Camera-ready material must be received by January 22, 2010
• AAAI Spring Symposia at Stanford will be held on March 22-24, 2010