Decolonising Bots looked into the ways that algorithmic agents perform notions of human race. With Ramon Amaro, Florence Okoye and Legacy Russell.
On 26 October 2017 Florence Okoye was one of the speakers at Bot Club: Decolonising Bots. Afterwards she wrote an essay: Decolonising Bots: Revelation and Revolution through the Glitch.
As in many societal domains, algorithmic culture’s implicit standard for what it considers default, normal, or average is positioned in relation to the Caucasian male. Examples abound: FaceApp’s Hot filter turns Black faces into white ones, Amazon Prime’s automated delivery avoids Black neighbourhoods in American cities, and facial recognition algorithms have a harder time identifying non-white faces. If it is not possible to decolonise algorithmic culture separately from the larger society, could we nevertheless conceive of bots or algorithmic agents that actively contribute to the process of decolonisation? How is Black identity developing online? What would an Afrofuturist perspective on algoroimic culture look like?
Ramon Amaro is a lecturer in the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. His research interests include philosophy, machine learning, pathology and Black studies. He is also Research Fellow in Digital Culture at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, and a tutor in Media Culture at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK). Ramon is completing his PhD in Philosophy at Goldsmiths, while holding a Masters degree in Sociological Research from the University of Essex and a BSe in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Along with being a former Assistant Editor for the SAGE open access journal Big Data & Society, he has worked as a quality design engineer for General Motors and programmes manager for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Florence Okoye works as a UX Designer, writes science fiction, messes around with Arduinos and web technologies whilst studying dead languages and computer science. She likes to think about intersectional futurism, technology, social justice and being a black Igbo diasporan in the UK. She is interested in projects that encourage public engagement with technology and the arts, especially those that explore the intersection of minority experiences. She is the Events and Marketing Manager for the MancsterCon sequential art convention, and is one of the leading voices of Afrofutures_uk.
Legacy Russell is a writer, artist, and cultural producer. Born and raised in New York City's East Village she is the UK Gallery Relations Lead and Gallery Partner Programs Lead for the online platform Artsy. Her work can be found in a variety of publications worldwide: BOMB, The White Review, Rhizome, DIS, The Society Pages, Guernica, Berfrois and beyond. Holding an MRes of Visual Culture with Distinction from Goldsmiths College at University of London, her academic and creative work focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, idolatry and new media ritual. Her first book, Glitch Feminism, is forthcoming and will be published by Verso.
Bot Club (humans welcome)
Bot Club casts a critical look at a world where bots, algorithmic agents and generative processes do the work and gives them the stage.