Understanding Cultural Context In Ai

Published by Wranga | November 15, 2022
Understanding Cultural Context In Ai

Written by Venkatesh Ramamrat

The cultural context in which human communication occurs is perhaps the most defining influence on human interaction. Culture provides the overall framework where we learn to organise our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in relation to our environment. Although we are born into a culture, we still need to learn it in our life.

Generative Adversarial Networks

At Wranga, when we set out to design AI systems for rating online content, we realised how much the data for existing AI were based on American or European Data sets and were not necessarily accurate as we understand cultural bias. This becomes critical, especially when we are doing it for a very nuanced audience which is the age rating of content suitable for children online. To go deeper into the understanding of the cultural context in AI we first look at some theories which help form a basis for the understanding of culture.

Generative Adversarial Networks

Edward T. Hall

  • Context: High-Context versus Low-Context Cultures
  • Space
  • Attitudes toward Time: Polychronic versus Monochronic Cultures
Hofstede’s Six Dimensions of Culture

  • Power Distance
  • Individualism vs. Collectivism
  • Time Orientation
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
  • Masculinity vs Femininity
  • Indulgence vs Restraint

Understanding Cultural Context In Ai


India scores high on this dimension, 77, indicating an appreciation for hierarchy and a top-down structure in society and organisations.


India, with a rather intermediate score of 48, is a society with both collectivistic and Individualistic traits. The collectivist side means that there is a high preference for belonging to a larger social framework in which individuals are expected to act in accordance with the greater good of one’s defined in-groups.


India scores 56 on this dimension and is thus considered a Masculine society. India is actually very Masculine in terms of visual display of success and power. However, India is also a spiritual country with millions of deities and various religious philosophies.


India scores 40 on this dimension and thus has a medium-low preference for avoiding uncertainty. In India, there is acceptance of imperfection; nothing has to be perfect nor has it to go exactly as planned.


With an intermediate score of 51 in this dimension, a dominant preference in Indian culture cannot be determined. Societies that have a high score on pragmatism typically forgive a lack of punctuality


India receives a low score of 26 in this dimension, meaning that it is a culture of Restraint. Societies with a low score in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism.

Importance of Cultural Issues Cultural values that individuals and/or their societies uniquely possess can influence their learning processes in everyday practices. In turn, AI that mimics its users’ decision-making patterns can also begin to reflect the users’ cultural values.

Understanding Cultural Context In Ai

Adoption and Use Decisions

AI adoption and use can be understood as users’ effort to mitigate decision uncertainty by having possible predicted answers to the problems given to them. Therefore, individuals with a high uncertainty avoidance culture may have a greater tendency to adopt and rely on AI compared to those with low uncertainty avoidance culture.

AI’s Recommendation Patterns

AI can become a reflection of its user as it learns the user’s cognitive and behavioural patterns. That is, although AI may be by itself an artefact, Though it is just an artefact, the decision-making patterns of AI can be different based on the cultural backgrounds of their users as much as users’ behaviours are different across cultures.

Emerging Usage Patterns

In continuous interactions between an AI and its user, several relationship quality issues may arise, depending on the cultural background of users. People from individualistic cultures may be more likely to engage in higher usage, compared to those with collectivistic cultures.

Understanding Cultural Context In Ai

Cultural Bias

Perhaps the most hotly debated issue with AI is data bias. Researchers and engineers train AI by utilising large amounts of data and seeing how the AI reacts. Slowly, the AI learns to recognize and respond to data correctly. However, the specific data that an AI is trained with can actually produce an inherent bias within it. While this may not seem like a big deal on the surface, data bias can have a ripple effect that innately transforms the way an AI functions, the results it produces, and ultimately the human experience on the other side.

  • Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently conducted an NLP study on social biases present in Bollywood and Hollywood using their AI tool. Subtitles from 700 films were gathered for each industry and analysed, representing seven decades of cultural evolution.
  • “COMPAS”, which stands for Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions is an artificial intelligence algorithm created by Northpointe and used in the USA to predict which criminals are more likely to re-offend in the future. Based on these forecasts, judges make decisions about the future of these criminals ranging from their jail sentences to the bail amounts for release.
  • PredPol or predictive policing is an artificial intelligence algorithm that aims to predict where crimes will occur in the future based on the crime data collected by the police such as the arrest counts, number of police calls in a place, etc. This algorithm is already used by the USA police departments in California, Florida, Maryland, etc. and it aims to reduce human bias in the police department by leaving the crime prediction to artificial intelligence
  • The Amazon recruiting engine is an artificial intelligence algorithm that was created to analyse the resumes of job applicants applying to Amazon and decide which ones would be called for further interviews and selection. This algorithm was an attempt by Amazon to mechanise their hunt for talented individuals and remove the inherent human bias that is present in all human recruiters.
  • Large, pre-trained language models like Google’s BERT, or Open AI’s GPT-2, exhibited significant racial, ethnic and sexist stereotypes.
  • We at Wranga need to ensure that human decision-making is strengthened by the AI technologies we use and since there is bias in Big Data, we are committed to creating our technology with our understanding of cultural context and beginning from scratch rather than utilising existing models which are not specific to Indian audiences, especially children.

Recognizing Cultural Influences on Child Development

Culture influences development from the moment we’re born, making an impact on us as we grow. For instance, culture can affect how children build values, language, belief systems, and an understanding of themselves as individuals and as members of society.

Parental Influences on Child Development

Parents’ culture can influence their children’s development. It makes sense that parents raise their children based on cultural influences because they’re preparing them to develop behaviours necessary to operate and thrive in that culture. However, when the social environment and home culture clash, developmental issues can arise.

Understanding Cultural Context In Ai

Collectivist vs. Individualistic Cultures and Parental Discipline

Parents’ cultural influences can impact how they discipline a child’s behaviour. It is found that children raised in individualistic cultures often described themselves based on their unique attributes, such as “I am good at maths.” Meanwhile, children raised in collectivist cultures were more likely to describe themselves based on their relationships with others, such as “I am my mother’s daughter.”

Parental Influences on Children’s Social Behaviour Varies by Culture

Children learn how to act by interacting with their parents. For this reason, the parents’ cultural background often influences a child’s behaviour..Children who communicate based on an individualistic cultural model will often tell long, self-focused stories with themes of autonomy and personal preference. Conversely, children who communicate based on a collectivist cultural model will often tell brief, other-oriented stories with themes of authority and interrelationships.

Media Influences on Child Development

Media influences on childhood development include movies, TV shows, video games, and other online content. A study from the Cognitive Impacts of Digital Media Workgroup found that children begin to learn from TV programs at around 2.5 years old.

Educational programs can positively influence their knowledge and social skills, preparing them for school. However, after they turn 6 years old, children begin to watch more entertainment programming, which can, in turn, influence their behaviour negatively. In addition, while video games can help children develop visual processing skills, they can also yield aggressive behaviour.

As a result of these findings, the study suggests that clinicians and early childhood service providers should work with parents to limit TV exposure before children turn 2 years old. As children begin to learn how to read, clinicians and service providers should advise parents to regulate children’s media consumption — with a focus on providing educational media content — and encourage reading habits.

The connection with cultural background is clear: Diverse cultures have different attitudes toward TV and other entertainment media, as well as different abilities to afford access to such media. A child from a collectivist culture, for example, may be encouraged to help an infant or elderly family member in lieu of watching educational TV after school. Indirectly, culture influences these children’s ability to benefit from such experiences.

Recent Google statistics say 70% of parents are online and 90% of new-age parents are millennials. The current generation of parents is possibly the most informed and data-oriented parents the world has ever seen. However, as history demonstrates, parenting without the right guidance could have serious negative effects. In the case of millennial parents, that would be the danger of too much information at their fingertips

Young parents are often seen running online searches for any child development question on their mind yet cannot distinguish helpful information from potentially dangerous ones. The addictive design of smartphones has created this situation, especially the instant gratification one receives when seeking information or knowledge.With Wranga , as a friend, philosopher, guide in this hyper digital world, parents can seek information from experts in the field as well as get information of content like Apps, movies, games online which have been thoroughly researched , rated and qualitative reviews of our experts give valid age approved information.

Wranga, also enables guidance with one on one sessions and group workshops for parents and also teachers in school. We are in the process of creating an Online Safety Curriculum for schools in India which create a knowledge framework for caregivers of our children and sensitise them to the needs of the children and the risks in the digital age like cyberbullying, sexting, fake profiles, misinformation, and deep fakes, as discussed in the previous article “Digital Parenting Basics”.

Understanding Cultural Context In Ai

Age Rating and Cultural Context

Apps and Games: In order to receive a content rating for an app on the Google Play Store, developers must fill out a rating questionnaire on the Play Console that inquires about the nature of the app’s content. An app’s rating will depend on how these questions, which were developed by the IARC, are answered.

The IARC’s rating system is currently deployed by rating authorities which serve approximately 1.5 billion people. It incorporates the distinct content criteria and standards for each participating territory. The IARC developed their system through close collaboration with participating rating authorities, game makers, and digital storefronts.

The following shows the distribution of 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+, 18+, Unrated.

  • The majority of apps (2,404,956) are rated 3+.
  • 22,488 apps are 7+
  • 202.915 are rated 12+
  • 36577 are rated 16+
  • 23,455 are rated 18+


By 2025, eighteen years after Netflix became the first company to stream content into people’s homes, the expected global value of the Over-The-Top (OTT) market is expected to exceed $167B and reach two billion subscribers. Current statistics of OTT is mind boggling:

  • Netflix revenue expected to surpass $67Billion in 2026, currently serving 221 million customers
  • 200 million active subscribers use Amazon Prime
  • 2 billion active subscribers on Youtube
  • 3 billion have downloaded Tik Tok globally with estimated 167 million videos watched every minute
  • 137 million active subscribers of Disney
  • OTT video advertising is expected to reach $119 billion in revenue in 2023
Looking at India we see
  • Disney+ Hotstar leads as an OTT provider with 29 percent.
  • Jio TV ranks second with 23 percent and Amazon Prime Video stays at third place.
  • Disney+ Hotstar reported over 16 billion Indian rupees revenue in 2020
  • India will enjoy one billion video screens by 2024.
  • 85% of Indian Subscribers will be broadband-ready by 2024.
  • OTT streaming industry ready to invest $1 billion in content only in 2021
  • In Q4, 2020, 240 billion hours were spent on video streaming apps.
  • Devices Used for OTT streaming
  • 89% of users stream videos via mobile devices.
  • 58% of users stream videos via TV Apps.

Over the top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Disney Hotstar and Amazon Prime will have to provide age-related classifications as part of a mandatory Code of Ethics for online curated content under the government’s new guidelines for digital media content.The rules, notified by the ministry of information technology, said all content transmitted, published or exhibited by OTT platforms will be classified on the basis on the nature and type of content, and will be divided into five categories:

  • suitable for universal (U) viewing,
  • for ages 7 and above (U/A 7+)
  • 13 and above (U/A 13+)
  • 16 and above (U/A 16+)
  • Adult (A)

Looking at the subscription and advertising revenue numbers we see that the business model is creating a behaviour where the companies are looking to increase amount of hours per customer and since each content creator would like to showcase to a maximum audience there is a lot of global content which is showcased on the OTTs.Since most of the OTTs are international , the age ratings cannot be universal and certain content due to lack of understanding the cultural context do not do so well in international markets. Several of the top 20 film markets in the world have cultural sensitivities that can seriously impact content. Issues like drug addiction, rape, child abuse, sexual assault, and suicide are perceived differently in many cultures, and the context around these events must be taken into consideration..

Besides the hit on revenue, penalties for ignoring these risks include take-down notices, monetary sanctions, legal sanctions, bad press, negative brand and business impact, and even imprisonment. It pays to recognize cultural sensitivities and respect the regulatory process and the potential impact it has on content distribution and monetization. Getting it wrong can have serious consequences, which is where Wranga comes to the rescue.With the Wranga AI engine, content creators and OTT companies can utilise services to make the content suitable for children and be able to reach bigger audiences without hurting people's sentiments and have age appropriate content for children as per government norms and social norms.

Almost every child of a certain age uses a digital device that is connected to the internet, which means that parents must deal with a completely new aspect of parenting, known as Digital Parenting. When it comes to using digital devices, parents must decide what is good or bad for their children, how much control is appropriate, and how to keep children safe in the digital environment.Wranga investigates how parents weigh the potential benefits and risks of their child's use of electronic devices and online activity, which aspects of their child's online activity concern them the most, and how confident they are in their ability to supervise their child's use of technology.