Human-Centered Design of AI Systems in Frontline Health

Wednesday 8th December 2021

Bio: Neha Kumar is an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech, where she is jointly appointed at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing. She works at the intersection of human-centered computing and global development, and focuses, among other things, on the promises and perils of mobile technologies and increased automation in frontline health work. She is trained in computer science, design, and ethnography from UC Berkeley and Stanford University. This training shapes her work, which engages participatory, assets-based approaches towards technology design for/with communities that have historically been underserved. 

Abstract: There has been growing interest in the application of data-driven and artificially intelligent (AI) systems in frontline health, further spurred by the global COVID-19 pandemic. In this talk, I will draw attention to the work and workers that are increasingly the focus of such systems. I will present findings from an extensive literature review of 347 papers on ongoing AI efforts for frontline health, as well as ethnographic fieldwork conducted over three years with frontline health workers engaged in data work in Delhi (India). Many of these workers are women already engaged in underpaid and invisible care work, primarily with women from underserved communities. This is work led by Azra Ismail, my PhD advisee. Our analysis uncovers gaps in current data-driven efforts and outlines opportunities for design, centering the perspectives of frontline health workers. We distill lessons from literature on Human-Computer Interaction for Development (HCI4D), post-development critique, and transnational feminist theory to present insights relevant for AI or data-driven efforts that target “social good”, more broadly.