Empowering civil society by turning information into action
HURIDOCS is receiving $1 million in grant funding and additional support from Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, in order to integrate machine learning models and expand Uwazi, a free and open source database application designed for human rights defenders to capture and organize collections of information. Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), users will get faster, more reliable and complete access to relevant and updated human rights information, to strengthen their efforts to safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms.
HURIDOCS equips human rights defenders with the tools needed to manage vast sums of data, much of it locked in PDFs and other non-searchable formats. By deploying various machine learning models, Uwazi will enable curators to make better sense of text, extract specific information, classify topics, create tables of content, automatically translate text, make documents more accessible, and convert PDFs to HTML.
Through the creation of structured collections of information and increasing accessibility to the information in those collections, human rights defenders will spend less time on manual data processing tasks and have more time to focus on strategic litigation, advocacy campaigns and gathering evidence on violations. By mobilizing the power of AI, the human rights community can use this data to strategically raise awareness about patterns of violence, preserve collective memory and leverage the most important legal precedents on global, regional and local levels.
Integrating machine learning into Uwazi at scale allows better access to publicly available information and will benefit human rights defenders, members of civil society, academics and researchers, policy-makers, and legal professionals in their pursuit to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, advocate for justice and seek accountability.
“As we expand our flagship tool, Uwazi to include AI, HURIDOCS remains committed to the responsible development of technology for human rights. With four decades of dedication to harnessing the power of well-curated information, we embrace the promise of AI and machine learning and are thankful to Google for this generous support of our work, ” says Danna Ingleton, HURIDOCS Executive Director.
Google.org’s AI for the Global Goals Impact Challenge is part of Google’s company-wide commitment to help accelerate progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. HURIDOCS is one of 15 organizations receiving support through the $25 million philanthropy challenge for projects that use artificial intelligence to accelerate progress towards these goals. Out of many submitted proposals, 15 were selected for funding. Importantly, all of the projects will be open-sourced, so other organizations can build upon the work. More here.
“Each of the 15 selected organizations share our vision for using AI to accelerate progress on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and each organization brings their own expertise to help move the needle,” said James Manyika, Google’s SVP of Research, Technology & Society. “We are inspired by the possibilities they see for how AI can be harnessed to help people solve societal problems, and are excited about the collective impact they will have over the next three years.”
HURIDOCS (Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems) is an NGO that helps human rights groups gather, organize and use information to create positive change in the world. Since 1982, we have developed methodologies and tools that make it easier not only to manage collections of evidence, law and research, but also to analyze them for insights. In all that time, the technology has evolved but our passion for the cause remains unchanged. Information is a force for good—as long as human rights defenders are able to safely and efficiently make sense of it.