The second session of the day presents talks by Flavia Dzodan and Ramon Amaro. Dzodan is interested in how contemporary technologies become a tool of racial, gender and class exclusions and Amaro discusses the domain of AI as an arrangement of axiomatic simplicity that, in its present form, diminishes variant domains of psychological and physical reality. The conference session will be hosted by Juha van 't Zelfde.
The topic of Flavia Dzodan’s talk is the coloniality of the algorithm or how contemporary technologies became a tool of racial, gender and class exclusions that can be traced back to the foundational moment of modern capitalism in the eighteenth century. The databases that feed algorithms of both corporations and the surveillance state operate through the logic of resource extractives to classify us as voters, consumers, friends, foes, love interests, sex partners, suspects, criminals or potential perpetrators. Each of the steps that leads to these classifications has been informed by centuries old ideologies converging to assign us a role, a place in the database. These taxonomies, or systems of classification, have been in use since colonial times and cannot be detached from a history of racial, gender, sexual or class hierarchies.
Artificial intelligence (AI) research has risen exponentially in the last decade. One of the stated goals of AI is a better understanding of the world around us. As such, an increasingly large proportion of human reality is now lived through algorithms. While our relationship with AI is undoubtedly important as a mode of knowledge production, it has far-reaching implications. Most significant is the disparity between the act of existing/existence – particularly as it relates to differential human states of being (race, gender, sexuality, etc.) – and predominant paradigms of epistemological operation. In this talk, Ramon Amaro discusses the domain of AI as an arrangement of axiomatic simplicity that, in its present form, diminishes the variant domains of psychological and physical reality. He argues for a return to the problematics of perception, as illustrated in debates between figuration and Black abstract art, to challenge the notion of an a priori analytics. Ultimately, he proposes a reorientation of the algorithmic as an ontological imperative that establishes the genesis of the human differential as an act of thought in itself.