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Digital Futures Lab/Issue #5: AI + Indian Judiciary, Political Ads, Open Data and a Job Opp!

Digital Futures Lab
No cobwebs collecting here! 🎃🕸🐈‍⬛
Nothing much spooks out the team here at Digital Futures Lab. Haunted houses, rattling windows, piles of readings, policy roundtables… name it and DFL’s researchers have sunk their teeth into it in October. 🧛🏽‍♀️
We’ve got new research on the institution of AI in the Indian judiciary and micro-targeting via political ads in the works, an op-ed out on open data frameworks for development, and a host of events we’ve floated around to. 👻
Here’s what’s been cooking in the cauldron at DFL! 🧙🏽‍♀️

research
Urvashi Aneja wrote a foresight brief on how digital public goods can support sustainable development without reinforcing existing inequities for the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. She considers what it means to build a digital infrastructure that can accelerate development gains without locking in a particular vision of our digital development futures.
Urvashi, with advocate and tech policy researcher Rishab Bailey, wrote an op-ed for 360info on the nuances of open data frameworks for socio-economic development in India.
Urvashi and Dona Matthew have been working on a paper that maps the landscape of automation in the Indian judicial system, arguing that the current ecosystem of smart automation and judicial technology can be characterised as one of ‘organised irresponsibility. Specifically, in the context where automation and machine learning tools have popped up more frequently in Indian courts, individual actors’ actions contribute to an increase in overall system risk.
Aman Nair has also been working on a brief on micro-targeting via political ads - a phenomenon that can pose significant threats to citizen rights and democratic elections. He uses secondary research to assist regulators in devising a governance framework and makes recommendations for what a comprehensive regulatory structure around political micro-targeting must include.
Look out for the published reports and related launch events on our social media and in our next newsletter!
media + events
Aman participated in the Center for Communication Governance’s roundtable on the Blockchain Ecosystem in India and Australia.
Urvashi facilitated a ‘futures scenario-building’ workshop at the Digital Futures Gathering in Berlin, organised by Superrr Lab - a community and a lab that develops visions and projects with the goal to create more equitable futures.
Urvashi also participated in a virtual fireside chat at the Economist Impact’s Innovation@Work summit. Her conversation with Vinnie Lauria, Managing Partner at Golden Gate Ventures, focused on the mainstreaming of gig work, what that tells us about the labour market, what it will mean for hiring and the state of organisations and their culture in the future.
Urvashi was also in conversation with Dr. Erinma Ochu, Associate Professor of Immersive Media at the University of West England for BeFantastic.in‘s Dialog series. Their conversation peeled back the curtain on AI systems: how and by whom are these systems constructed and designed, who benefits and who loses out, how AI systems impact society, and what the ethical implications are.
what we're reading
work with us 🤝
We’re looking for a Research Associate to work on our Gov-Tech Futures In India project! If you’re a curious and driven individual, with proven research skills and experience in participatory foresight, and are available for the next 12 months, consider applying!
Have an idea for creative collaboration, a future Tech and Society Dialogues event or a research partnership? Reach out to our Comms & Public Engagement Manager, Sasha John, at sasha@digitalfutureslab.in or @SashaEmJay on Twitter.
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Urvashi Aneja

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