IRCAI AI Award 2021: Project AIMS

Published on March 16, 2022

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In 2021, IRCAI launched its first AI Award campaign. Aiming to highlight the work of individuals addressing the UN SDGs by means of artificial intelligence (AI), IRCAI strongly encouraged nominations from all world regions and all backgrounds. Upon a careful selection procedure, this year’s award has been granted to Adriana-Eufrosina Bora (PhD Candidate at the Centre for Data Science School at QUT) for her work in Project AIMS. Striving to eradicate modern slavery, the project uses AI to read and benchmark companies’ statements.

Each year, about 16,000 to 17,000 modern slavery statements are published by UK businesses alone. This can be quite a tiring process: It takes approximately 1 hour for volunteers to manually analyze one statement and for the researchers to validate their results. To respond to the need of accelerating this analysis and creating accountability at scale, Adriana has been gathering resources required to build her AI-based over a period of six years. In the meantime, Adriana and The Future Society were taken onboard by the Walk Free Initiative to boost business compliance and eradicate modern slavery, by jointly automating the analysis of modern slavery statements.

The analysis of the statements is basing itself on the UK Modern Slavery Act. Adapted from the requirement set formulated in the act, the project considers a list of 16 metrics. Each of these metrics refers to a question about the quality of the companies’ modern slavery statements. Questions include: Is the statement signed? Is it approved by the Board of Directors? Does the company have a mechanism to facilitate whistleblowing or the reporting of suspected incidents of slavery? 

The team behind the project notes that the analysis proceeds in two steps: In the first step, the corpus of the text is extracted from the modern analysis (usually documents stored in a PDF or HTML format). In the second step, the methodology consists in bringing along the “understanding needed to prepare the training of the machine learning (ML) solutions”. In other words, the second step is where the analysis of the 16 metrics and the identification of the supporting statement segments takes place.

Whilst trying to come up with an effective computational method, the team behind the AIMS project invited a consortium of modern slavery research experts to a semantic workshop. Striving to imbed the experts’ knowledge in the methodology, the experts formulated a set of keywords, which were then used to facilitate the identification and exploration of the metrics in the corpus. 

To present her work to a wider audience, Adriana will be giving a keynote speech at the IRCAI AI Award presentation on March 17th at 2pm GMT+0. Her keynote will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Adriana’s colleagues and partners from The Future Society, Walk Free, Mila and WikiRate. The event will be broadcast live on Zoom or YouTube Live. The YouTube live recording will be available later on IRCAI’s YouTube channel as well.

For more details on the statement analysis methods employed by Project AIMS, feel free to have a look at the paper “AI against Modern Slavery: Digital Insights into Modern Slavery Reporting – Challenges and Opportunities”. Furthermore, a technical project evaluation has been conducted by Mila, which is available on request.


Georgia DIP and AI Research Project

Georgia DIP and AI Research Project

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published the digital innovation profile for Georgia, a document analysing digital innovation ecosystem in Georgia, focusing on the opportunities and challenges in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The document had been prepared with the collaboration of IRCAI experts.

Highlights from the 16th ASEF Classroom Network Conference

Educators and professionals from across Europe and Asia gathered in the picturesque city of Ljubljana, Slovenia, from November 12-15, 2023, for the 16th ASEF Classroom Network Conference. Hosted by the International Research Centre on AI under the Auspices of UNESCO (IRCAI) and supported by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, this annual event was a success: it brought teachers together, facilitated the creation of new partnerships, answered some questions about AI in education and uncovered many new and important ones.

In Person Meeting of the African Members of the NAIXUS Network of AI Researchers on AI and Development

In Person Meeting of the African Members of the NAIXUS Network of AI Researchers on AI and Development

The NAIXUS project (Network of AI Researchers on AI and the United Nations SDGs) convened a significant meeting during the Deep Learning Indaba 2023. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the progress of the project, share insights, and plan future actions to strengthen the network’s impact on advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through artificial intelligence (AI) research.

Workshop at the Deep Learning Indaba 2023: “Building a Global Network of AI Researchers on AI and the United Nations SDGs” 

Workshop at the Deep Learning Indaba 2023: “Building a Global Network of AI Researchers on AI and the United Nations SDGs” 

The International Research Institute on AI under the auspices of UNESCO (IRCAI) and its core members in the Network of Excellence NAIXUS; a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at bridging the gap between AI and sustainable development hosted a meeting amd a workshop in Accra, Ghana. Both events were held as part of the Deep Learning Indaba 2023 Forum on September 8 and 9 and were co-hosted by the NAIXUS members from Africa.


International Research Centre
on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI)
under the auspices of UNESCO 

Jožef Stefan Institute
Jamova cesta 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana


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