Dagoreti South MP Advocates for Equitable Data Representation in Global AI Development


Dagoreti South MP John Kiarie and the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Communication, Information, and Innovation made Kenya proud on the global scene on Monday by delivering a candid, informed, and detailed presentation and contribution on the need for equitable data representation in the artificial intelligence race.

During his presentation, Kiarie emphasized the importance of cautious and vigilant participation in the AI landscape, citing historical lessons on exploitative developments.

He underscored the disparity in data representation, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere, where indigenous knowledge and cultures have traditionally been passed down orally, rendering them largely absent from mainstream data sources.

“When we are having a conversation on AI Human Rights and Democracy, you understand why Africa is walking into this very cautiously. We do not want to walk into it blindly. We want to walk into it vigilantly. The lessons from the past have taught us that there are developments that can be exploitative to individuals, to communities, and even to countries. And now that we know that AI and the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be fueled by data, the question begs: what does the data representation look like as we go into this fourth industrial revolution? As we look into the data centers and where they are being stationed in the world, we see that the Southern Hemisphere is very disenfranchised. A case in point: we got to look historically. Africa has passed its indigenous knowledge, beliefs, and cultures from one generation to another orally. It has not been recorded, not in numbers, not in words. Indigenous data that is not in our books, is not in the library, and is not even on the internet from which the AI systems are scraping data out of.

“I was very excited about what Mr. Sebar said because in the context of AI, democracy, and human rights, then Parliaments must advocate for Affirmative Actions that ensure inclusivity and equity in the principle of leaving nobody behind. We’ve got to ask ourselves: if this data that is being scraped off the internet is what is going to fuel the Artificial Intelligence, what will some of the communities contribute to this data? Does it mean some cultures, some religions, some beliefs, or some tribes are going to go extinct in what we are calling the fourth industrial revolution?” John Kiarie noted.

His remarks underscored the critical need for proactive measures to address the widening data gap and uphold principles of fairness and representation in the evolving AI landscape.

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