Data Science and Satellite Imagery

Data Science and Satellite Imagery

Object detection, sitting at the intersection between Deep Learning and Computer Vision, has recently gained a lot of attention due to its extensive use in multiple real-world applications. International Development is not alien to that trend. In this blog entry, we introduce some of the basic concepts behind the workflow that powers such Artificial Intelligence solutions. For that, we use a real-world application based on satellite imagery from one of our projects at AKTEK.

Contextual awareness is key for the successful implementation of operations, projects and investments in many industries. While field information is still fundamental, collecting that data can be very expensive and may only be possible assuming high risks, especially in fragile and conflict-affected areas. Furthermore, contextual information in such areas becomes outdated very fast, which aggravates those limitations. The rise of object detection techniques, through machine learning and computer vision solutions, is facilitating new applications where images are automatically ingested to inform decision-making processes. This rise has been possible thanks to a combination of factors, the two main ones being the better quality and cost of image recording systems; coupled with the more powerful, but also more affordable, computational resources that power advanced solutions such as deep learning algorithms.

Read More

Data Science and Text

Data Science and Text

Today, headlines are filled with claims about the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do things only humans could do before. Recognizing objects in images, responding to voice queries, or interpreting complex text instances, to mention a few. But how do AI applications work? What are the AI solutions being used in International Development and Security? In this post, we summarize some of the basic techniques for computers to process and react to human language using Machine Learning, using real-world scenarios from several of our projects at AKTEK.

Development actors often deal with large amounts of text and speech data. This data  carries information that is key to understanding conflict and social dynamics. Social media, news, and other text storage and sharing mechanisms have produced even more data in recent years. It is therefore more important than ever to be able to process text quickly and accurately. Artificial intelligence can help.

Read More

The Future of Technology for Good: Use Cases of Tech in International Development

The Future of Technology for Good: Use Cases of Tech in International Development

With an SMS message on a mobile phone, a Kenyan school teacher is able to deposit money into her account. A Syrian refugee looks into an electronic box that scans his eye so he can pay for food items. A health worker monitors new alerts on her dashboard. All around the globe, people in developing countries are interacting with technologies in new and innovative ways.

Technology has become a crucial ally in international development. It has proven to add value in efforts to improve disaster and humanitarian response in challenging contexts. It has also been useful in increasing access to financial services and reducing bank transfer costs. There are many other applications of technology in international development and we’ll discuss a few noteworthy use cases in this roundup.

Read More

Helping the Private Sector Build Peace: The Role of Technology

Helping the Private Sector Build Peace: The Role of Technology

Our Head of Client Accounts, Julia Pardo, spoke in the BuildPeace conference in Belfast on October 29th. She talked about how the private sector has a role to play in making the world a more stable and peaceful place and how technology can help achieve that. This post is a condensed version of her speech.

Do we trust the private sector to do good? If we look at the past as an indicator of future impact, it might be hard to think so. The private sector has drowned in a quicksand of bad rap when it comes to its social and environmental impact, followed by scandals like Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data, the BP oil spill or the war over water in Bolivia.

Read More