Poor enough for the algorithm? Exploring Jordan’s “poverty targeting” system

Tuesday, November 28 at 9 am ET / 3 pm CET / 4 pm Jordan

Around the world, governments are adopting algorithmic “poverty targeting” systems that rank applicants for social assistance from the very poorest to the least poor, in a bid to ensure the accurate prioritization of funds. In Jordan, a World Bank-supported “poverty targeting” system builds comprehensive profiles of people seeking benefits—from how much electricity they use, to how much they spend on food each month, whether they own a car, and how old the car is—to exclude those deemed not to be as poor as others. In this in-depth conversation, we will explore whether such a system is (or could be) able to capture the complexities of people’s lives, and how this approach may embed discriminatory practices or problematic understandings of how poverty is experienced. We will ask, what changes when algorithmic systems are introduced in these contexts? What is new about this approach? And what kinds of alternative approaches might deliver better outcomes?

Speaker: Hiba Zayadin, Senior Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch

Registration link: https://nyu.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ra-ksgtWTVuui5v52c25cQ#/registration


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