Application of AI and Blockchain Technology in Refugee Service: Helping Them to Establish a Credit Background to Open an Account and Find Jobs
Due to constant civil wars, military conflicts and wars around the world, according to the Global Trends issued by the UNHCR, the global refugee population has reached 68.5 million people. This massive number of displaced people has no legal civil status, no stable economic source, and do not have a recognized education background and employment record, thus making it difficult for them to be integrated into local society. Currently, some organizations are working hard to come up with important technological solutions for refugees.
Difficult for Refugees to Settle Down Due to Unsatisfying Living Circumstances and Inaccessible Internet
Due to their stateless status, refugees are often denied their capacity of opening up bank account, being hired, going to school, renting and buying houses, receiving legal consultation, or receiving other civil welfare. Among them, their lack of important skills is also a major obstacle for refugees. According to the staff of the UNHCR, low literacy rate is the second obstacle refugees have to solve in the long term for them to settle down.
The UNHCR has encouraged refugees to apply for affordable mobile internet services and worked hard in inviting telecommunication providers to provide this service. However, as many as 40% of refugees live in remote areas where internet service is under-developed, making this seemingly accessible basic living resource in cities an inaccessible one to them. Moreover, due to gender discrimination, women who seek internet service face greater hindrances. For example, some husbands from Rwanda fear that if their wife can be connected to the outside world, it may result in marriage disloyalty. As in Jordanian society, usually it is the man who has control over the only telephone in the family.
Civil Society and the Government Working Hard Together with the Anticipation of Using AI and Blockchain Technology to Provide Services to Refugees
The UN is attempting to solve issues refugees are facing by concentrating on their technological demands and stipulating goals. In “Connecting Refugees” that it published in 2016, the UN assessed the connection and undiscovered potential of emerging technologies. Since then, through the joint effort of global governments, NGOs, and corporations, AI and blockchain technology were utilized in many innovative fields with the attempt of providing services to refugees to solve their daily demands.
Blockchain Technology May Help Refugees Obtain Their Identity
According to reports from the World Bank, although mobile banking services are increasing, there are still 2 billion people without bank accounts.
Despite facing the aforementioned great challenges, there has been an explosive increase in innovative projects providing solutions to refugees. Organizations are working hard to recognize the main demands of refugees, proposing solution projects, investing in fund and resources, and putting them into practice with manpower, especially technologies based on blockchain. Blockchain is the foundation of Bitcoin. Through providing dispersed authority, it can be used to provide employment and learning opportunities. Blockchain provides an encrypted system to ensure its higher financial security. It can provide more legitimacy to refugees.
Blockchain can establish reliable and acceptable identification verification for refugees in new countries they settle in and provide them with portable background information. Given that these large numbers of residents lack identity causing concern to the local social security network, there is great demand to help all people to obtain their identity. “Homeward Project” is an example of portable identity. It can compile physical and behavioral biometric data, a simple resume, data recovery, social and cultural preference, and support PKI of blockchains, thus creating a unique self-control data ID card.
Innovative Service Targeting Refugees
At the Techrefugees Summit of 2015, the mission of its 500 participants was to apply AI, blockchain, and other internet technologies in five major fields: obtaining human rights and information, health, education, employment, and social tolerance. Among them, the winning internet technology team included the functions of building a distinguished social network for refugees, legal consultation internet, doctor’s visits, accurate and mobile medical record, video education, new skills education, and virtual money earning methods.
Another innovative project worth noticing is a digital backpack that helps refugees in carrying a trans-border resume and background information. It can also store an unofficial learning archive. The digital backpack focuses on several key functions: it is a platform environment that provides users with recognized badges and verified skills, the demanding and sending of recommendation papers, skill matching, and skill assessment.
The development of AI and blockchain is still immature. However, facing the refugee crisis, it is a great opportunity worth challenging. It many help refugees become integrated and even result in the prosperity of and stability of the whole society, thus enabling the country to flip to a new page. In the field of technology, many organizations are quietly providing important technological solutions to refugees in order to lessen their burdens and help them integrate into society.