Laura María Calderón Cuevas
Brua | bruapodcasts.com
Working towards a future where people matter over profit
The guest of Episode 17 of the podcast The Road Less Traveled is Jean Linis-Dinco, a human rights activist, academic and data scientist from the Philippines. She is currently doing her PhD in cybersecurity at the University of South Wales Canberra, focusing on the analysis of government propaganda, and disinformation in the context of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
Already a good communicator by training, Jean also did the Master’s Programme in Human Rights and democratisation in Asia Pacific (APMA), which made her start working towards a more progressive approach to human rights, one that also ecompasses social political economy.
She works towards a future where people matter over profit. “To ensure that AI does not become a tool of oppression, we must strive to democratize its ownership. By promoting open source AI technologies, cooperatives, worker-owned enterprises, we can encourage widespread access to AI resources and prevent monopolistic control by rich people. And this collective ownership empowers the working class to participate in AI decision-making and benefit from its advancement.”
She also sees the potential in AI becoming a force for good and having the power to revolutionize the global workforce. “The present is our battleground and the place where we construct the very foundation of the future that we desire.”
Her advice for someone who is keen to work in the field of machine learning, or data governance, or just machine learning in general and doing programming: “As a human rights graduate, you actually already have every soft skill that the market needs.”
Regarding human rights education, she stresses that the best tool to use is the one that is working and that we should avoid treating technology as the be all and end all solution to every challenge. What we need is culturally relevant pedagogy: developing educational materials and curriculum that resonate with the students cultural backgrounds and experiences.
She concludes by reminding everybody to keep the poor in mind especially when making decisions related to AI.
The present is our battleground and the place where we construct the very foundation of the future that
Jean is a human rights activist, academic and data scientist from the Philippines. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Cybersecurity at UNSW Canberra, focusing on the analysis of government propaganda and disinformation in the context of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.
This research has earned her international recognition, including a Peace Ambassadorship from the European Commission in 2022 to attend the One Young World Summit in the UK. Jean was also featured in Vanity Fair issue February 2023 as one of the 17 global leaders working towards the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for her PhD work. Jean's involvement work in human rights and technology is evident in her work with the Women in AI Ethics™ (WAIE), a fiscally sponsored project of the Social Good Fund. In 2022, she was honored as one of the top 100 Women in Artificial Intelligence Ethics globally for her work in the field of technology and human rights.
This recognition showcases her dedication to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for the UNSW student community. She was recently consulted by ILGA Asia for her expertise in this area and was invited to speak at RightsCon 2022 about mitigating algorithmic biases in the Global South. Through these engagements, Jean has helped increase her academic capacity by sharing her knowledge and insights on critical ethical issues in technology. Jean is also a Salzburg Global Media Fellow and a finalist for the Nobel Peace Prize Challenge 2022 for her open letter addressed to Philippine President Marcos about the situation of freedom of expression in her country. Jean has recently won an award for her transnational project on the gamification of human rights at the recently concluded United Nations-Oxford Youth Competition.