By Whom and for Whom? AI Ethics, Power, and the Problem of Representation

By whom and for whom?
© Lena Ziyal

Sat, 13.11.2021 3:30 PM


Language: English
This event will take place on Zoom

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AI research and development has always been associated with certain intentions and interests on the part of producers. Their subjective ideas, fantasies and desires have a significant influence on the specific form and function of AI applications. However this often means that only the social identities, positions and interests of those individuals involved in the funding and production of AI are represented. To what extent is it a problem that technology used by millions if not billions of people every day is developed by certain privileged social groups who imprint their own projection of universal concerns and needs into the technology? The panel will reflect critically on what rhetoric and interests are involved in the presentation of AI processes, who will benefit from the global spread of AI, and who will gain little or even be harmed by it.

The panel is in English.

Speakers: Cynthia Bennett, disability researcher, Carnegie Mellon University; Tiara Roxanne, researcher and artist, Berlin; Nishant Shah, culture and media scientist, ArtEZ University of the Arts
Moderation: Renata Ávila, human rights lawyer and activist, Open Knowledge Foundation, Berlin

Cynthia Bennett is a postdoctoral researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute. Her research priority combines her interest in human-computer interaction with questions about barrier-free access and disability studies. She made it her goal to make her research findings accessible to people with disabilities and focus more attention on their living realities in a scientific context. Her current project is about design prototypes that are tailored to people with disabilities and the impact products like this can have on the visibility and integration of these groups of people.

Tiara Roxanne is a cyberfeminist, scientist and artist based in Berlin. Her interest is the interaction between indigenous bodies and AI, to which end she questions the colonial structures embedded in machine learning systems.  Her work is based on the assumption that decolonisation is impossible and the resultant necessity of establishing decolonial gestures. Alongside her research activities she also engages with these themes as an artist. Her artistic works, which occupy the volatile area between digitality and materiality, have been exhibited in venues including the Squeaky Wheel Film and Media Art Center in New York, the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and at the transmediale in Berlin.

Nishant Shah is Professor of the Aesthetics and Culture of Technologies at the ArtEZ University of the Arts, the Netherlands. He is a strategic consultant in the “Digital Earth” Fellowship Program, faculty member at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, as well as mentor in the Feminist Internet Research network. His work covers the intersections between body, identity, digital technologies, artistic practice and activism, with a particular focus on non-canonical geographies. His current research interest is the interaction between AI, digital subjectivity and disinformation, and it is the subject of his latest book, Really Fake (2021).

Renata Ávila is a human rights lawyer and activist with special expertise in matters relating to intellectual property, digital rights, private domain and data protection. Since October 2021 she has been working as CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation. As well as having spent many years representing high-profile whistle-blowers, she addressed this topic as co-author of the book Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks, which was published in 2017. She is an advisory board member of the international organisation Creative Commons, which aspires to a free and open knowledge culture, and CEO of the Chilean Intelligent Citizenship Foundation, which is committed to digital rights in Latin America. As a fellow of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, Avila is also working on a project promoting interdisciplinary, diverse and feminist perspectives in the context of technological innovations.