Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

The Human Element of AI for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response

Research members of National Institue of Technology, Sendai College conduct a ground-penerating radar robot to search for missing people of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami at Yuriage beach in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture on March 11, 2021, on the 10th anniversary of the disaster. The robot, installed with AI (artificial intelligence), can be operated autonoumously driving and can detect human bones located in the ground 2 meters deep. (The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images )

AI can play an important role in weather-related Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR), especially with regard to coordination and logistics. To ensure AI’s success on such use cases, it is critical to consider its human element: the different people and stakeholders in an HADR effort, their distinct goals, pain points, and design needs, how they’ll actually interact with AI technologies in the field, how to apply AI technologies fairly and ethically, and more. This two-day virtual seminar and conference will bring together people from academia, governments, the military, NGOs, and the technology sector to inform them with practical knowledge about the application of AI to HADR coordination and logistics, with a special focus on its human element (including, but not limited to human-centered design, human computer interaction, and responsible AI).