(Non)negotiable spaces of algorithmic governance: Perceptions on the Ubenwa health app as a ‘relocated’ solution

Anu Masso*, Martha Chukwu, Stefano Calzati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

This study explores relocated algorithmic governance through a qualitative study of the Ubenwa health app. The Ubenwa, which was developed in Canada based on a dataset of babies from Mexico, is currently being implemented in Nigeria to detect birth asphyxia. The app serves as an ideal case for examining the socio-cultural negotiations involved in re-contextualising algorithmic technology. We conducted in-depth interviews with parents, medical practitioners and data experts in Nigeria; the interviews reveal individuals’ perceptions about algorithmic governance and self-determination. In particular, our study presents people’s insights about (1) relocated algorithms as socially dynamic ‘contextual settings’, (2) the (non)negotiable spaces that these algorithmic solutions potentially create and (3) the general implications of re-contextualising algorithmic governance. This article illustrates that relocated algorithmic solutions are perceived as ‘cosmopolitan data localisms’ that extend the spatial scales and multiply localities rather than as ‘data glocalisation’ or the indigenisation of globally distributed technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-865
Number of pages21
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • (big) data
  • Algorithms
  • birth asphyxia
  • governance
  • interoperability
  • interview
  • mHealth
  • Nigeria
  • social context
  • social space

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