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Challenging AI Empire: Toward a Decolonial and Queer Framework of Data Resurgence
  • Zhasmina Tacheva,
  • Srividya Ramasubramanian
Zhasmina Tacheva
Syracuse University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Srividya Ramasubramanian
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In the age of AI, when models like DALL-E and ChatGPT impact countless aspects of our lives, the dehumanizing and harmful features of AI that have plagued data science since its inception continue resulting in the routine erasure, exploitation, and subjugation of people of color, Indigenous people, women, queer, non-binary, immigrant, dis/abled, and non-Western people. Far from a “glitch” or unintentional error, these endemic issues are a function of the systemic oppression upon which the global AI industry is built. Rooted in colonialism, heteropatriarchy, and racial capitalism, this perpetual oppression shows that we live not simply in the Age of AI but in the Age of AI Empire. Since Big Data and algorithms only further reinforce the logics of hegemony, extractivism, surveillance, and subjugation which drive AI Empire, we argue that reforming AI from within the same oppressive system that created it can do little beyond providing band-aid solutions.
Instead, to advance justice, we must radically transform our ideas about data and technology and develop them from the bottom-up, from the perspectives of those who stand the most risk of being harmed. Rather than being perceived as “vulnerable,” the people and communities most directly impacted by AI are more properly understood as demonstrating technological ingenuity, alterity, sustained resistances, and refusals against AI Empire – practices we call Data Resurgence. Through the lessons learned from Indigenous, decolonial, and queer communities, we show that data resurgence can be a powerful collective response to AI Empire based on Anti-coloniality, Relationality, Sovereignty, and Liberatory Praxis.