Amara Bains

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Areas of interest: Community participation in artificial intelligence design; AI for social good; ICT for development (ICT4D); AI for development (AI4D); Anthro-complexity; Decolonisation, Ethics, Bias in artificial intelligence, Inclusive AI


Amara is a PhD student at the Faculty of Creative Industries. Her research is focussed on understanding how traditional approaches to development and humanitarian aid, to achieve sustainable development, can be improved by the use of artificial intelligence (AI) without exacerbating existing or creating new social inequalities. In particular, Amara is interested in how communities, typically regarded as digitally disadvantaged, can influence and direct design and implementation of technology, especially AI for social good. She draws on development theory and practice, complex adaptive systems theory, anthropology and current dialogue on AI ethics for her research. The goal of her research is to highlight the unique qualities of being human and how that can be drawn on to support diverse and inclusive approaches to AI design, keeping humans-in-the-loop. Amara is a development and humanitarian aid professional with more than 20 years’ experience. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in development and humanitarian aid practice and policy, applying a feminist and decolonisation lens to her practice.

Thesis Title: Community-in-the-loop: micronarratives as a methodology for participatory design and evaluation of applications of ‘AI for social good’ in developing contexts.

This research seeks to investigate the use of micro-narratives as a mechanism, in complex human systems, to support a co-design and evaluation process for technological solutions to complex or wicked problems. Micro-narratives are collected to provide insights into culture and context and other community held knowledge which may be then used to close the gap in inclusive decision-making and design for AI for social good and as well as in evaluating human-machine interactions, capturing emergence and any unintended consequences of AI for social good.

Principal Supervisor: A/Prof Verena Thomas
Associate Supervisor: A/Prof Markus Rittenbruch

Estimated completion date: May, 2025