The Pacific Standard website has published a fascinating story about using data to help migrants find work. In the article the authors of a Science magazine article are interviewed; they discuss their study of applying an artificial intelligence algorithm to analyze historical data to predict where to best settle refugees upon their arrival in a new country. The authors note,
Refugee policies, like immigration policies generally, are dominated by ideology rather than sound evidence. We haven’t seen a lot of innovations in this space. Cash assistance, language instruction, training programs: These turn out to be very expensive and difficult to scale. The nice thing is, from a policy perspective, [using artificial intelligence algorithms] doesn’t really cost you anything more. It’s just a smarter way of doing the allocation. Rather than doing it in a haphazard, quasi-random fashion, as we’re doing it right now, we might as well do it in a more data-driven way, where we send people to the places they’re more likely to succeed.