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Communications of the ACM


Using Algorithms to Deliver Disaster Aid

satellite image of a hurricane

Credit: Getty Images

Over the past decade, machine learning-based algorithms have been deployed across a wide range of use cases and industries. From the algorithms that assess an individual's creditworthiness, to algorithms that serve up suggested movies and shows to watch on Netflix, the impact of Big Data, analytics, and automation are felt daily by nearly everyone.

One area of life where algorithms have not yet been perfected is with payments made by government or relief organizations to people in the aftermath of a crisis, emergency, or natural disaster, where getting financial relief to the people who need it most is critical. Though there have been pilot programs and limited use of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide targeted aid, the practice is far from widespread.


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