OxCAIGG: Old Cracks, New Tech

26 May 2021

Old Cracks New Tech

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are increasingly touted as solutions to many complex social and political issues around the world, particularly in developing countries like Kenya. Yet AI has also exacerbated cleavages and divisions in society, in part because those who build the technology often do not have a strong understanding of the politics of the societies in which the technology is deployed.

In her new report ‘Old Cracks, New Tech: Artificial Intelligence, Human Rights, and Good Governance in Highly Fragmented and Socially Stratified Societies: The Case of Kenya’ writer and activist Nanjala Nyabola explores the Kenyan government’s policy on AI and blockchain technology and evaluates it’s success.  Commissioned by the Oxford Commission for Good Governance (OxCAIGG), the report highlights lessons learnt from the Kenyan experience and sets out four key recommendations to help government officials and policy makers ensure good governance in AI in public and private contexts in Kenya.

The report recommends:

  • Conducting a deeper and more wide-ranging analysis of the political implications of existing and proposed applications of AI in Kenya, including comparisons with other countries where similar technology has been deployed.
  • Carrying out a comprehensive review of ongoing implementations of AI in both private and public contexts in Kenya in order to identify existing legal and policy gaps.
  • Conducting deeper legal research into developing meaningful legislation to govern the development and deployment of AI technology in Kenya. In particular, a framework for the implementation of the Data Protection Act (2019) vis-à-vis AI and blockchain technology is urgently required.
  • Arranging training for local political actors and researchers on the risks and opportunities for AI to empower them to independently evaluate proposed interventions with due attention to the local context

Cite as: Written & researched by Nanjala Nyabola (2021). Old Cracks, New Tech. Working paper 2021.3, Oxford, UK: Oxford Commission on AI & Good Governance. 15pp.

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