Reconstructing the Global Debate through Decolonial Lenses


Dodzi Koku Hattoh
On Responsible AI: An Indigenous African Perspective

Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a leveraging agent has become a global disruptive force in every system. It is also the case that we are still developing and selling high-risk AI-driven products and services, without asking what kind of accompanying rules are necessary to implement this adaptive AI parameter. Necessarily, it is commendable that we design and build Responsible AI to stimulate ‘the uptake of human-centric and trustworthy AI and protect the health, safety, fundamental rights, and democracy from its harmful effects’. However, the emerging risks posed by AI in its materiality are not yet fully explored, let alone fully understood. Somewhat the level of abstraction of Responsible AI has been sketchy about the risk of unknown risks. Consequently, we ask: how do we define the scope of responsible AI? What are the red lines in AI use that violate the entailment of the term, responsible? Mapping how Responsible AI intersects both human and nonhuman agential, the paper considers the need for other perspectives in development of responsible AI. To achieve that, the paper considers the implications of an indigenous African perspective concerning Responsible AI. The attempt is to explore a global framework, if possible, to evaluate the expectation of Responsible AI and the promises of AI for all. In conclusion, the paper underscored that any creation of AI without responsibility to its materiality is highly problematic from an ethical point of view.

Dylan Merrick
Insights Into Artificial Intelligence Research In Canada With Indigenous Peoples

Artificial intelligence applications have yet to be fully imagined. One of the reasons why, is due to its lack of community-based definitions and ownership. This has left diverse communities, tech developers, and academics to sift through the “code” to find the “best” way to situate AI within the context that is needed.

This typification fits the current narrative surrounding AI and Indigenous Peoples in Canada (First Nation, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI)). Currently, there is varying access, ownership, usage, and cultural understandings of AI which has created a multitude of Indigenous interpretations. This multiplicitous nature of AI has warranted the need to elucidate which usages (if any) can benefit Indigenous communities, specifically to support mental health services.

Qualitative research on the interpretations and uses of AI by Indigenous Peoples can clarify how AI technologies are received in Indigenous communities. As the social, economic, political, and environmental impact of AI are assessed it is critical for Indigenous and other marginalized communities to work towards sovereignty and governance of AI applications and development throughout various fields and industries which can create guardrails to protect communities from potential harms. This is where theoretical and praxis-base approaches such as decolonization can lend a lens through which to establish this necessary axiological scaffolding to counteract settler-colonial oppression.

Erick Tambo
Harmonizing Futures: Bridging the Digital Divide with AI and Indigenous Knowledge for a More Inclusive and Sustainable World

This session explores the innovative intersection of artificial intelligence (AI), cultural heritage, and environmental stewardship, while critically examining the biases and opportunities that arise from integrating AI and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS). The session aims to foster a deeper understanding of the interdependent and symbiotic relationship between humans and AI through the lens of IKS. It is argued that IKS can substantially enrich the global discourse on enhancing the wellbeing of both human and non-human entities, while also expanding perspectives beyond homogeneous scientific culture to develop innovative, inclusive and holistic approaches to building sustainable AI systems for the future. Particular emphasis will be placed on exploring how AI can be incorporated within indigenous frameworks to promote cultural and economic inclusivity by leveraging IKS to inform AI-driven economic initiatives. Key areas to be explored include the future of work, ethnobotanical ecological and echnological databases, economic inclusivity, and sustainability, where AI and IKS work in harmony to promote collective wellbeing and environmental stewardship.

Husein Inusah
Indigenous Epistemologies: Decolonising AI and Shaping Sustainable Futures

Discussions surrounding AI and indigenous communities from the Global South often centre on the necessity for AI technologies to align with the values, needs, and priorities of indigenous populations. However, this discourse frequently overlooks the digital divide that exists within indigenous communities, which hinders their ability to access the internet or generate digital data for use in generative AI systems. My presentation will delve into the intersection of indigenous epistemologies and the decolonization of AI in shaping sustainable futures. I will argue that decoloniality, when considered in the context of the AI debate, should be understood as a pursuit of justice that encompasses plurality, diversity, inclusion, and localization. My presentation will underscore the importance of connecting the "unconnected" in the Global South to ensure inclusion and diversity on AI platforms. It will emphasize the significance of providing access to the internet and enabling the generation of digital data for the Global South to encourage knowledge diversity and promote sustainable futures through the use of generative AI systems.

Melanie Cheung
Abundant Intelligences: Decolonizing Methodologies in AI

Dr Cheung will outline the structure, methodologies and outputs of Abundant Intelligences research program involving Indigenous academics and communities in Canada, Hawaii, United States and Aotearoa, which reimagines the conceptualization and design of artificial intelligence based on Indigenous knowledge systems that support the flourishing of future generations, and are optimized for abundance rather than scarcity. She will then talk about her work developing decolonizing methodologies to grow human brain cells has been applied in the field of artificial intelligence. 

Modestha Mensah
An African Feminist Decolonial Perspective of AI Ethics

That artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming integrated into various social spaces is undeniable. Yet, we often lose sight of the fact that AI, like all other technologies, is developed within existing diverse cultural, historical and social contexts. Such contexts, with their attending values, dictate which people benefit from, or are affected by the technology, often the case that powerful groups enjoy the former, to the detriment of the marginalised. Unfortunately, discourse on AI ethics has been mostly steeped in Western experiences and value systems that do not align with experiences of African people, especially African women, as they constitute a more disadvantaged group. From the standpoint of decolonizing AI ethics from an ecological lens, this talk highlights the interconnectedness of environmental degradation, gender, and colonial legacies. Ultimately, it offers feminist African ethical pathways anchored on care, responsibility and communality for environmental integrity and social justice.

Samuel Segun
Values at risk: Constructing an Afro-ethical Framework for Artificial Intelligence Systems

This talk critically examines the potential impact of the pervasive integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into various aspects of life on African ethical values. It contends that key African ethical principles, such as Afro-communitarianism and dignity rooted in a normative understanding of personhood, may be jeopardised by the corporate drive towards AI adoption. The talk highlights a significant gap in the literature regarding the implications of AI on African ethical values and proposes a unique perspective on AI ethics from an African context.

The talk identifies the values at risk from AI and then illustrates how current AI practices undermine these values. It suggests prioritising these values in the establishment of an African AI ethics framework. The talk contributes to the broader discourse on AI ethics by developing a formulaic interpretation that offers some relevant considerations, offering an alternative perspective to the predominant Western ethical frameworks of Utilitarianism and Kantianism.

Wakanyi Hoffman
Afri-I vs Gen-AI (African Intelligence versus Generative Artificial Intelligence): Decoding the Logic in African Ubuntu Mindset to Humanize Machine Learning for Culturally Inclusive Ethics

This presentation aims to decode the logic of the Ubuntu moral ethical framework to demonstrate how this African indigenous  philosophical understanding of what it means to be a conscious and intelligent human being affects governance, social structure, public systems and knowledge curation in Africa. Further, the presentation aims to argue for an integration of Ubuntu ethics  into AI systems built for Africa, for Africa to develop its social and economic systems on terms that are reflective of pan-African values, and effectively contribute to the future global knowledge commons. This argument is built on ongoing concerns of a new wave of colonisation through cultural bias in AI data systems. The presentation ends with a call to consider Ubuntu philosophy as a universal moral framework that captures a humanised approach to ethics for flourishing human and non-human relations. 

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