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Histories of Artificial Intelligence: A Genealogy of Power


The overarching theme that connects my work so far has been the use of Information and Communication Technologies for health and development. My recent work focusses on AI in nutrition programmes, national biometric identity systems (Aadhar) for social assistance programmes, data analysis and performance tracking of time taken to deliver various citizen services (Sakala) and rural business process outsourcing sector in India.

I am interested in ethnographic research of design, implementation and use of AI and information and communication technologies, particularly in public health delivery. My doctoral thesis titled 'Implementing public health information infrastructures in India: An ethnographic approach' explored the complex heterogeneous processes shaping and influencing the development of four e-governance projects in the Health and Family Welfare Department of Andhra Pradesh, a southern State in India.

I am presently Research Scientist and Assistant Professor at the Ramalingaswami Centre on Equity and Social Determinants of Health, Public Health Foundation of India, Bengaluru. I am co-ordinating a Research Fellowship Programme, at the Regional Mentor Institute, WHO-SEARO region. The programme 'Strengthening Gender Equity and Intersectionality in Health Policy and Systems Research' is in collaboration with United Nations University – International Institute of Global Health.

Prior to my doctoral study I was a journalist with The New Indian Express and Financial Express in Bangalore, India.

Research Summary
AI in Healthcare in India: Documenting the Journey

My doctoral research analysed the introduction and adoption of digital information infrastructures in public health delivery in India since early 2000s. Large-scale investments to develop information systems were made to reform the various poor performing public sector departments, including the Health Department.

More recently, similar attempts are being made by various government departments to use AI and ML to improve the reach of social and health programmes. My project proposes to document the present narratives and discourses around AI and healthcare policy and systems research. I plan to analyse the promises, politics, rhetoric and complexities of AI and ML in improving social assistance and healthcare, particularly among women and children.

In doing so, I propose to document the opinions and experiences of key stakeholders involved in the development, implementation and regulation of AI in the healthcare sector. I would like to explore some of the seminar themes through the lens of patients, healthcare providers, policy-makers and implementors.

Ranjini Canchi Raghavendra on ORCID

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