Monitoring Data to Address Social Risk With the Citibeats Platform
Periods of societal upheaval often breed quality of life issues that threaten to disrupt society and jeopardize people’s well-being.
These social risks are detrimental to human life and societal function—often disproportionately impacting those most vulnerable such as people of color, low-income populations, children, and older adults, among others.
The world is currently experiencing this on a global scale in its struggle to recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, warfare, inflation, and climate change—all of which take a compounding toll on the quality of life and overall societal health.
Global communities were already struggling to rebuild from pandemic-induced surges in poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, and plummeting quality education when Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The war pushed costs of living even further—putting debilitating inflationary pressures on developing countries, widening wage gaps, and pushing more people below the poverty line.
Meanwhile, those very same nations are disproportionately impacted by climate change despite contributing to global warming the least. It is crucial global leaders take coordinated action to not only respond to the vast humanitarian crises at hand, but leverage data-driven strategies that proactively protect the vulnerable.
Social Risks In Times of Crisis
Exacerbated Social Risks During Times of Crisis
Inflation Amid Disease and Conflict
While a significant social risk factor, inflation disproportionately impacts developing countries by widening wage caps, increasing food insecurity, plummeting earning values, and pushing more people below the poverty line.
Rates of price increases were already at record-high levels at the beginning of 2022, with Turkey at a two-decade high of 48.7%, Brazil a 7-year high at 10%, and Mexico 7.4%.
However, compounding social risk factors—particularly Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—have inflated prices even further, yielding the fastest increase in global food prices (23.1%) in more than a decade, joined by upticks in crude oil, fertilizer, gasoline, and especially wheat.
Developing nations—which spend 40% of budgets on food—are particularly vulnerable to broader economic conditions. These cost of living hikes stretch already thin budgets even further, making it difficult for populations to afford basic necessities and exacerbating poverty and food insecurity.
Rampant Poverty & Food Insecurity
For the first time in more than 20 years, the global poverty rate rose in 2020, with between 720 and 811 million people experiencing hunger and food insecurity, according to a UN analysis. This comes not only amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but also Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, severe inflation, supply chain shortages, and other compounding problems.
With an estimated 600 million people (7%) projected to be living in extreme poverty by 2030—earning less than $1.90 a day—this would miss the UN’s targets of eradicating poverty.
Similarly, these conflicts have “increased the vulnerabilities and inadequacies of global food systems,” the UN states, yielding a “supercharging” of food insecurity amid conflict and climate change-spurred production disruptions. If global economies remain off-track from meeting necessary objectives, 840 million people would be affected by world hunger in eight years.
A Predictor for Poverty
An Upsurge of Unemployment—A Predictor for Poverty
The coronavirus pandemic also wreaked havoc on one of the only ways that people experiencing poverty can hope to improve their well-being: productive, steady employment.
Despite a slight rebound from “the worst economic crisis in decades,” new COVID-19 strains, supply chain disruptions, warfare, and inflation have stifled economic gains and prolonged recovery—spawning a high unemployment rate (5.4%) that the International Labor Organization (ILO) predicts will remain above 2019 levels until at least 2023.
Meanwhile, the “working poor,” in Burundi (79%), Madagascar (76%), and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (69%), among others, maintain jobs but live below the poverty line, according to ILO data.
As a determinant of poverty—along with median wages, and wage inequality—it is increasingly vital global leaders address rampant unemployment and create more decent working opportunities to fuel economic growth.
Plummeting Quality Education
An issue with already “slow and insufficient” progress, the UN estimates the coronavirus pandemic has additionally wiped out 20 years of educational gains, according to its 2021 Sustainable Development Goals Report.
As is often the case in times of crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly exacerbated systemic inequities in nearly all areas, but notably, in education.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, only 53% of worldwide youth and 29% in sub-Saharan Africa completed secondary education, and nearly three-quarters (70%) of 3- and 4-year-old children in 76 low- to middle-income countries were considered “on track developmentally,” reads a UN analysis.
However, pandemic-related online learning has led to a collapse in reading proficiency levels, downturn in school completion rates, and reliance on caregivers for learning—while many vulnerable students lacked online learning technology or access to basic school infrastructure altogether.
The Threat of Climate Change Among Vulnerable Populations
Recent findings underscore the reality that those most vulnerable to climate change contribute to it the least.
Between 2010 and 2020, flooding, droughts, and extreme weather killed 15 times as many people in vulnerable areas—especially Africa, a contributor to less than 3% of carbon emissions—than in wealthier ones.
Meanwhile, communities of color, older adults, children, and low-income populations feel the effects of climate change more severely than other groups—from increased heart and lung complications and starvation to malnutrition and displacement.
As the world seeks to curb dangerous greenhouse emissions that contribute to climate change, there is also a push for adaptation financing to support vulnerable populations’ resiliency against already noticeable climate change impacts.
Citibeats Social Risk Trends
Citibeats: Contextualized Social Risk Trends for Societal Impact
When inflation, warfare, disease, poverty, and other social risks occur, those experiencing these challenges tend to respond and discuss organically online via social media, discussion forums, blog comments, and more.
Amid lay-offs, unemployed workers might seek relief and answers to their questions via social media or online forums. Spiking inflation rates may spark fretful conversations on social media or long lines at the grocery store. Those facing the technological hurdles of online learning discuss solutions with similar online communities, or amid upticks in river pollution, surrounding communities express fear for their food security.
Throughout these life-altering events, those living with these challenges are most connected to the experiences.
In an effort to remediate these communities’ concerns, challenges, and questions, it is essential global leadership leverage evolving technologies that harness these real-time narratives to empower better, faster decisions that proactively address risks threatening to disrupt society.
Social understanding platforms such as Citibeats process large quantities of unstructured data from social media, forums, and blogs, generating immediate insights into the most prevalent populational sentiments—from rising gasoline prices to food shortage concerns.
The Social Risk Monitor then displays these evolving trends on a real-time dashboard, customizable by gender, region, and other identifiers—offering a unique, specific view of regions talking about a given topic, and prevalence of a concern among various demographics. Category heatmaps and priority comparison tools enable global leaders to visualize the relative volume of a given narrative for that territory, with darker coloration signifying more conversations about that given topic.
Utilizing cutting-edge deep learning technology, Citibeats infers demographic information such as gender probability by looking for clues in the author’s name or biography description. By analyzing data from a gender perspective, the platform reduces gender bias and calibrates results accordingly.
Citibeats is also uniquely capable of detecting a user’s goal when articulating an opinion online—whether a complaint, question, sign of appreciation, and more—via multilingual intent detectors. Sophisticated, language-agnostic software automatically classifies citizen opinions based on their purpose, empowering decisionmakers to appropriately answer citizen questions and address complaints.
For instance, Citibeats' perception of inflation social indicator detected a 70% spike in expressed fear from Panamanian citizens regarding price increases—a direct correlation to the country's unprecedented protests for economic fairness. This crucial metric enables immediate insight into societal trends as they unfold, and empowers proactive remediation.
Rather than risk responding to societal challenges when it is already too late, Citibeats utilizes such social indicators—in addition to institutional distrust, civic unrest, and polarization—to empower swift, contextualized decisionmaking that mitigates preventable risks.
When sharing these real-time insights with decisionmaking teams, data reports enable streamlined, shareable storytelling based on interactive data—all created by Citibeats analysts to ensure insights have not been manipulated.
Although global leaders might rely on surveys or other traditional methods to inform policies, these resources—while effective—lack the urgency necessary to combat pressing issues before it is too late. Citibeats not only empowers leaders with full understanding into nuanced, evolving societal issues and enables swift response, but identifies changes and warning signs as they unfold—empowering proactive protection of those most vulnerable.
At a time when disease, warfare, and climate change continue to take deadly tolls on global populations, it is paramount leaders leverage this transformational tool to devise contextualized strategies, protect the vulnerable, and fundamentally, build back civic trust with inclusive policymaking.
Citibeats leverages ethical AI for social understanding, gathering and analyzing real-time data from social media comments, blog posts, forums, and more. Our Social Risk and Sustainability Monitors generate millions of real-time conversational trends as they unfold—empowering better and faster decisions that proactively address risks threatening to disrupt society.
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