RPS — LIRNEasia


In the rapidly evolving world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), it is important to ensure that society continues to reap its benefits without being subject to its many harms. As AI continues to be integrated into various sectors such as healthcare, finance, and transportation, ensuring these technologies are developed and used responsibly becomes increasingly important. While this need is generally recognised, there is currently a lack of globally representative data on how countries are addressing AI’s challenges and opportunities, especially in relation to the protection and promotion of human rights. Recognising this need, a global effort called the Global Index on Responsible AI (GIRAI) was initiated in 2023 as a flagship project by the Global Center on AI Governance. The GIRAI is the first tool to set globally relevant benchmarks for responsible AI and assess them in countries around the world.
The TRC is likely to address problems of a “level playing field” that come up when a global tech company offers the same service that a local company does.
LIRNEasia is inviting proposals for gender-responsive, policy-relevant applied research projects that contribute to a sustainable and inclusive future of work. This call is supported with funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) The complete Call for Proposals can be found here. The deadline for proposal submissions is 1800hrs Indian Standard Time, 19th July 2024. An information session will be organised on the 24th of June week to assist potential applicants in understanding the CFP and the project as a whole.  Register here to receive details about the upcoming information session.
The report “Social Media Regulation and the Rule of Law: Key Trends in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh”, which was launched recently in Colombo, examines the balance between state security, human rights, and the role of social media across these South Asian nations. This collaborative effort involves Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Rule of Law Programme Asia, LIRNEasia Sri Lanka, the Centre for Communication Governance (CCG) at the National Law University Delhi (NLUD) India, and the School of Law at BRAC University Bangladesh. The report provides several crucial observations and recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders alike: Key observations from the report: Bangladesh and India provide conditional liability exemptions for third-party content hosted by intermediaries, but recent legislative trends suggest a weakening of safe harbour protection. Across all three countries, centralisation of power with the executive is evident, resulting in regulatory frameworks lacking effective judicial and parliamentary oversight over blocking orders, internet suspensions, and user data requests. The centralisation of power with the executive has also fostered a lack of transparency and accountability in government actions, often justified by state security interests.
With the digital world becoming increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, from studying and working to shopping, the digital economy has seen significant growth. In the global digital landscape, data often flows across borders for various transactions, meaning that data generated in one country may be stored and processed in another. This movement of data across international borders isn’t just a technical matter—it’s a major driver of economic development, innovation, international trade, and social progress. However, these cross-border data flows have raised concerns about privacy, security, and data protection. One major worry is data localisation rules, which insist on keeping data within a country’s borders.
We are inviting proposals from potential bidders to conduct a study on human factors in the information disorder and finding measures to counter. The full RFP can be found here. Please check our Technical Proposal Template, Financial Proposal Template and the Sample Contract, before sending your proposals. Proposals for the study must be received by LIRNEasia by 17.00 hrs Sri Lankan time on 7th June 2024.
It has come to our attention that a scam is circulating, falsely using the name and logos of LIRNEasia. A group claiming to work with us is creating bogus WhatsApp groups and possibly engaging in fraudulent activities. We would like to inform the public that LIRNEasia does not collaborate with any such digital marketing agencies. Please be vigilant and do not engage with such schemes. Please be informed that LIRNEasia does not maintain public WhatsApp groups and updates and announcements from LIRNEasia will only be shared through our official emails, social media accounts and website.
The following article was originally published on the IDRC – Resisting information disorder in the Global South website. LIRNEasia studied information disorder in Asia for a scoping study on challenges of information disorder in the Global South in 2022[1]. We conducted over 80 key informant interviews, including fact checkers and journalist to gather data for the study. Fact checkers and journalists talked about use of digital tools, including AI tools in their day-to-day work. Some of their Digital tools included ‘the Social-People Index, Facebook Ad Library, Crowd Tangle, Sentione, Google fact-check tool, Claim Buster, and TinEye’.
Before we dive into natural language understanding, the theory, and its applications–it is important from a pedagogical perspective that we understand the historical trajectory of the ideas that led us there. While it would be interesting to go as far as back to Aristotle, we will skip ahead to what is considered the most important flashpoint in modern philosophy & science–referred to as the ‘linguistic turn’. It begins with our Wittgenstein, inspired by Gottlob Frege: “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. […]” While this line is almost used to the point it has become a cliche in modern NLP research papers, Indeed Wittgenstein himself would go on later to re-write and almost rethink all of the ideas he posited in the original Tractatus–which is why the irony is sweet when you see his famous quote plastered on the beginning of most modern research papers; but it is undeniable that Wittgenstein’s first posit changed the face of philosophical debate, effectively ending the practice of continental philosophy, and the birth of the more ‘logical’ analytic philosophy. In our rush to understand reality, we had lost sight of the tool we were bound by during our examination and […]
Abu Saeed Khan has taken leave of us. We celebrate a life well-lived and mourn the loss of a valued friend and colleague. The public sphere of Bangladesh and the region is diminished by his demise. I met him in September 2000 in Dhaka, my first visit to Bangladesh, where I had been invited as a former regulator to a regional event organised to welcome and encourage the just-established Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Learning that the World Bank had pulled its funding to signal displeasure about some last-minute chicanery to create openings for political interference in the governing statute, I did not limit myself to bland good wishes as is customary.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Abu Saeed Khan, a renowned telecommunications expert, and Senior Policy Fellow at LIRNEasia. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Over the course of his career, Abu held several significant roles, including Secretary General of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) and Strategy Analyst at Ericsson’s Southeast Asian head office in Malaysia. He also served as the Technology Editor for bdnews24.com and conducted research analysis at EMC World Cellular Database.
Gayani Hurulle, Senior Research Manager at LIRNEasia, recently discussed the challenges facing Sri Lanka’s digital economy in an interview with Yarl TV. Gayani highlighted various policy challenges and opportunities pertaining to the digital economy, drawing on LIRNEasia’s research. She also highlighted the need for policy reforms to align with the rapidly evolving digital landscape. One of the pressing issues she addressed was digital taxation. She underlined that the current tax laws are not designed to/being used to collect taxes from large technology multinationals that don’t have a local physical presence, creating an uneven playing field.
LIRNEasia concluded its first workshop (30 March, 24’), its first and part of a larger series of initiatives on ‘Artificial Intelligence for Social Good’; intended to raise interest and awareness on the potential of AI to benefit society at large. The event featured a keynote speech by Dr. Romesh Ranawana, Chairman of the national AI strategy committee (Sri Lanka, 2024-28). Dr. Ranawana outlined Sri Lanka’s tactical roadmap for AI development, including its synergies with existing digital policies, the challenges still ahead.
The FutureWORKS Collective was officially launched at an inception workshop organised by the JustJobs Network on March 6-9, 2024 in Negombo, Sri Lanka. The workshop was the first in-person convening of the five regional hubs that will form the Global South research network.  The FutureWORKS Collective seeks to foster innovation that advances skills for the future of work and promote decent work globally. It will do this through Southern-led interdisciplinary research, network consolidation, and collaboration in public policy processes. This network, the FutureWORKS Collective is funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.
In response to the alarming surge of information disorder affecting online platforms, LIRNEasia is exploring to provide evidence-based recommendations to policymakers on how best to equip Sri Lankan early adolescence with skills to navigate the digital world safely and responsibly. This is through a two-year research project on digital literacy among Sri Lankan adolescents aged 11 to 18. In partnership with Sarvodaya Fusion, LIRNEasia is taking an experimental approach, using qualitative methods. This initiative involves the comparison of two cohorts of early adolescents with varied demographics, including language and sectors like urban, rural, and estate. While one group undergoes intensive digital literacy training, the other serves as a control group without such training.
During the annual conference of the ICRIER Prosus Centre for Internet and Digital Economy (IPCIDE), which held in New Delhi on February 16, LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya stressed on the need to address both demand and supply sides of internet use, advocating for education reform and digital literacy initiatives to bridge access gaps.  Helani Galpaya is a member of the Advisory Board of IPCIDE. The focus of the event was the launch of the “State of India’s Digital Economy (SIDE) 2024” report, a comprehensive analysis of India’s digital transformation journey. Co-founded by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) and Prosus, a global consumer internet group, IPCIDE aims to shape policy by providing empirical evidence to guide India’s digital evolution.  The 2024 report highlights that India’s digital economy is only second to that of the USA when viewed as a whole, but it falls behind when digital dividends are considered on a per capita basis.