Data.org aims to use data and AI to counter global challenges and empower a diverse workforce.
Data and artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to improve the lives of people around the world and address global challenges such as inequality, climate change, and public health. To realize this potential, data.org, a joint initiative of The Rockefeller Foundation and Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, released a white paper to explore the use of data for social impact (DSI). The report, “Accelerate Aspirations: Moving Together to Achieve Systems Change”, was compiled from a July 2022 survey and stakeholder interviews with 775 public, private, and nonprofit organizations.
The report found that despite the digital divide, the increased use of web-enabled mobile phones and smartphones in low- and middle-income countries is driving the use of more data and AI-based interventions and solutions worldwide. DSI is transforming and delivering new ways to analyze giant datasets, advance predictive models, and harness machine learning for societal and environmental benefit. However, the report also found that there are limited resources for data-related jobs in developing countries, and that 90 percent of respondents to the survey are committed to supporting continued investment in new data tools, training, and staff.
In response to these findings, data.org is implementing a plan to create knowledge hubs that will be used to train 1 million data practitioners around the world over the next 10 years. The organization is also hosting a Jan. 24 webinar on the report’s findings that is open to the public. To ensure the success of this plan, the authors of the report recommend stronger funding models with longer time horizons, more flexible funding, and better coordination. They also suggest building a diverse, global workforce with interdisciplinary perspectives to create a foundation for data for social impact work that is both effective and just.
Data and AI have the potential to be a powerful tool for public good. By investing in a diverse global workforce of skilled data practitioners and creating stronger funding models, data.org is helping to realize this potential and to create a data-driven social impact sector that can drive innovative solutions to global challenges.