Nowcasting for Hunger Relief: A Study of Promise and Perils

Information Technology for Development, Forthcoming

UNSW Law Research Paper No. 22-17

41 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2022

See all articles by Wayne Wobcke

Wayne Wobcke

University of New South Wales

Caroline Compton

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law & Justice; Western Sydney University

Fleur Johns

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law

Jayson Lamchek

University of New South Wales

Siti Mariyah

University of New South Wales

Date Written: June 17, 2022

Abstract

Pitched as an aid to better development decision-making, the digital platform HungerMap LIVE presents composite data on, and machine-learning-derived predictions of, food insecurity in 90 countries. Of its current version, this article asks the following questions: What work is HungerMap LIVE called upon to do in ICT for development (ICT4D) practice? How well is it set up to do that work? Combining technical (both computer science and statistical) and social analysis, this article employs a close reading method drawn from humanities and legal research not usually directed at digital platforms in combination with interview-based techniques. By this means, it scrutinizes HungerMap LIVE’s potential to guide or mislead users and canvasses some elaborations that could enhance its usability. It argues that interdisciplinary research of this kind can counter both the historical and technological determinism troubling the ICT4D field and better position decision-makers to employ machine learning in history- and context-attentive ways.

Keywords: Information technology for development, famine, hunger, World Food Programme, ICT ethics, social impacts of machine learning, ICT for decision-making support, interdisciplinary research, Sustainable Development Goal 2

Suggested Citation

Wobcke, Wayne and Compton, Caroline and Compton, Caroline and Johns, Fleur E. and Lamchek, Jayson and Mariyah, Siti, Nowcasting for Hunger Relief: A Study of Promise and Perils (June 17, 2022). Information Technology for Development, Forthcoming, UNSW Law Research Paper No. 22-17, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4150038

Wayne Wobcke

University of New South Wales

Caroline Compton

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law & Justice

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Western Sydney University ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2751
Australia

Fleur E. Johns (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales, Faculty of Law ( email )

UNSW Australia
Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
+61 2 9385 9893 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/profile/fleur-johns

Jayson Lamchek

University of New South Wales

Siti Mariyah

University of New South Wales

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