Refugees in Uganda Are Earning Money by Training AIS | Virtual Reality
The worldwide number of people forcibly displaced from their homes by violence, war, and persecution is now 68.5 million — more than the population of the U.K., for context.
REFUNITE is a nonprofit dedicated to helping many of those refugees reconnect with their missing loved ones. Now, it thinks it’s found a way to help them get back on their feet financially, too — while simultaneously advancing the field of artificial intelligence.
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To train an AI, researchers must often feed the system troves of meticulously labelled data. Those datasets can be expensive to buy and time-consuming to create.
REFUNITE believes it’s found a solution to that problem — last week, the nonprofit announced the creation of LevelApp, an app that makes it easy for anyone with a smartphone to earn money labeling AI-training data.
The company is currently conducting a pilot project of the app with 5,000 refugees in Uganda, 200 of whom are labeling data for DeepBrain Chain, an AI-focused blockchain company.If that trial goes as hoped, it plans to scale up to 25,000 Ugandan refugees within two years.
According to a World Economic Forum story, REFUNITE’s co-chief executive Chris Mikkelsen told attendees at a recent conference on human rights that a person could make up to $20 a day through LevelApp. And while that might not be enough to cover the cost of living for people in many places, it could be life-changing for a Ugandan refugee.
Currently, a refugee in Uganda is likely to earn just $1.25 a day doing the basic tasks or menial jobs available to them. That means LevelApp could increase their income 16-fold. The refugee could then use that extra money for everything from healthcare to education for their children.
In other words, this single app could help members of a vulnerable population rebuild their lives, all while helping shape the future of AI.