As machine learning and artificial intelligence evolve at an increasing pace, the necessity and potential to integrate technology-based approaches into poverty-fighting strategies have grown significantly.
Without deliberate action, advancements in technology are likely to exacerbate inequities and inequality gaps rather than close them – but with intention and creativity, data and digital innovations offer the potential to drive effective and far-reaching solutions to tackle the myriad challenges faced by people experiencing poverty.
Through Robin Hood’s work like our Learning+Tech Fund and our incubator for digital solutions, Blue Ridge Labs, we’re supporting efforts to translate advances in digital technology to increase opportunity in New York City and beyond. There is a need for more experimentation, to inspire broader thinking, and to shine a light on promising practices that work. In short, we need to grow a field, grounded in the perspectives of people with experience in poverty, and one that values efficacy and meaningful results.
To elevate and showcase a range of new and existing solutions, Robin Hood launched the AI Poverty Challenge to scale what works and encourage more uses of AI that help people access opportunity and achieve greater economic security.
Strong solutions for the AI Poverty Challenge will focus on one or more of our solution categories (Education, Financial Empowerment, and Workforce) and will meet the four criteria outlined in the scoring rubric:
IMPACTFUL. Does the team use the capabilities of AI as part of its solution to address a significant poverty-related challenge in a meaningful way? Will the proposed solution have a substantial impact on the economic mobility of intended beneficiaries?
RESPONSIBLE. Are perspectives of intended beneficiaries reflected in the solution’s design, with safeguards to ensure ethical use of data, technology, and engagement with relevant communities? Will the solution reduce disparities rather than exacerbate them?
FEASIBLE. Does the team have the experience, relationships, plans, and knowledge (of technology, poverty-related challenge, beneficiaries, etc.) to deliver outcomes and sufficiently address legal barriers and ethical considerations? Will the solution have access to relevant data/data sources so it can function as envisioned?
SCALABLE. Is the solution replicable, adaptable, and/or positioned to serve as a model that increases benefits or engages more people over time? Does the team demonstrate a realistic understanding of resources, conditions, and/or partners required to scale?
We expect a wide range of solutions, including but not limited to:
- Products, including wider and safe access to innovative platforms or systems that use AI technologies.
- Services, including providing staffing and wrap-around services to ensure effective and responsible use of AI solutions.
- Technical Infrastructure, including access and improvements to data/data resources, networks and other structural and operational components needed to deliver AI solutions.
- Training & Capacity-building, including educational programs, awareness campaigns, policies development, and advocacy.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
Based on results of the Evaluation Panel and other factors that may include, but are not limited to, solution category, geographic diversity, and demonstrated promise or track record, up to nine finalists will receive $100,000 each. The Selection Committee will make a recommendation to Robin Hood to select three, $1 million AI Poverty Challenge awards.
Let’s work together and apply AI to broaden opportunity, inspiring more efforts in service of expanding upward mobility from poverty.