When AI is managing migration, should we be afraid?

Borders & Belonging

Dec 6 2022 • 38 mins

Climate change and other disasters are displacing ever more people. Could artificial intelligence help predict impending crises and where humanitarian aid will be needed? Could algorithms be used to match refugees to regions where they will have the best chance of thriving? And what happens when you take human judgement out of the process, or if data is used to exclude some migrants unjustly?

Hilary Evans Cameron (Toronto Metropolitan University) starts off the discussion with a refugee case to show that human-decision making, itself, can be dangerously unreliable. Then host Maggie Prezyna speaks with experts Ana Beduschi (Exeter University) and Tuba Birca (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), who walk us through what AI is, how it works and what are its risks, pitfalls and potential for good.

Maggie is a researcher with the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration & Integration program at Toronto Metropolitan University and this new podcast is Borders & Belonging. Maggie will talk to leading experts from around the world and people with on-the-ground experience to explore the individual experiences of migrants: the difficult decisions and many challenges they face on their journeys.

She and her guests will also think through the global dimensions of migrants’ movement: the national policies, international agreements, trends of war, climate change, employment and more.

Borders & Belonging brings together hard evidence with stories of human experience to kindle new thinking in advocacy, policy and research.

Top researchers contribute articles that complement each podcast with a deeper dive into the themes discussed.

Borders & Belonging is a co-production between the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration & Integration at Toronto Metropolitan University and openDemocracy. The podcast was produced by LEAD Podcasting, Toronto, Ontario.

Show notes

Below, you will find links to all of the research referenced by our guests, as well as other resources you may find useful.


A helping hand from outer space: Doctors Without Borders utilise satellite data for humanitarian missions’, by Reliefweb (5 October 2020)

A Robot Lawyer Is Officially Assisting With Refugee Applications’ by Dom Galeon, Futurism (3 December 2017)

Germany to use voice recognition to identify migrant origins’ by BBC, (17 March 2017)

How artificial intelligence is changing asylum seekers’ lives for the worse’ by Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star (9 November 2020)

Jordan: Is the UN’s biometric registration for Syrian refugees a threat to their privacy?’ by Zoe H. Robbin, Middle East Eye (23 October 2022)

Racial discrimination in face recognition technology’ by Alex Najibi, Harvard University (24 October 2020)