On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], “Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?” I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.
— Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864), Chap. 5, 59.
We live in a society where machines, algorithms and humans intertwine; where the “consensual hallucination” of cyberspace is no longer a separate part of our lives, but a swamp through which we wade, leaving data trails for the world to see; where the wrong people put the wrong figures into the wrong machines and wonder why the answer isn’t right. Terms like “Big Data” and “AI” have become Rorschach blots on the public consciousness
LIRNEasia’s role is to participate in the public policy dialogue around our algorithmically-inclined society with critical research and technical expertise. Since 2013, as cross-disciplinary team of data scientists, lawyers, and social scientists, we have conducted our own analyses, engaged deeply with policy makers and with private, data-heavy organizations.
On 2nd October 2023, Research Manager and Team Lead (Data, Algorithms, and Policy) Merl Chandana, alongside Junior Researcher Chanuka Algama, held a session titled ‘Applied data science research for social good’ at the University of Kelaniya’s Department of Statistics and Computer Science. The session delved into LIRNEasia’s journey of forming a data science team and using large datasets to yield critical insights for public policy. They contrasted LIRNEasia’s applied data science approach with traditional academic research and private sector practices. Additionally, they highlighted the emerging ‘AI for Social Good’ movement and its potential as a career avenue. The slides used can be accessed below.
By employing unsupervised and supervised machine learning techniques, we explore the feasibility of utilizing mobile call detail records (CDRs) as well as geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) data to map poverty spatially
Many countries around the world have adopted artificial intelligence (AI) polices. However, Sri Lanka is yet to adopt one. This discussion paper considers factors that may be taken into account if an AI policy were to be drafted in Sri Lanka.
This policy brief looks at the current status of Sri Lanka’s Open Data Portal, and what may be done to improve it.
Keynote presentation for South Eastern University, 10th Annual Science Research Sessions 2021, 30 November 2021 – by Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia
Over the past decade, both internet penetration and digital media user base have increased substantially.
We present a dataset consisting of 3468 documents in Bengali, drawn from Bangladeshi news websites and factchecking operations, annotated as CREDIBLE, FALSE, PARTIAL or UN-CERTAIN. The dataset has markers for the content of the document, the classification, the web domain from which each document was retrieved, and the date on which the document was published. We also present the results of misinformation classification models built for the Bengali language, as well as comparisons to prior work in English and Sinhala.
This research report analyses the implementation of AI ethics principles in the policy, legal and regulatory, and technical arenas in Singapore and India.