Artificial Inteligence & Inclusion
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Artificial Inteligence & Inclusion

Silvana Bahia [1]

This short article seeks to explore intersections between the concepts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and inclusion and their potential for societal transformation toward social justice and scientific improvement.

When reflecting on the technologies enhanced by Artificial Intelligence, the challenges, and risks associated with them become evident. It is likely that at some point, you have discussed these issues, as well as the difficulty in establishing regulations and protocols that properly consider the impacts of these technologies.

One of the main obstacles that the use of Artificial Intelligence faces lies in solving problems of a social nature. This challenge stems from the fact that AI is trained to recognize patterns, which in many cases leads to exclusion rather than inclusion. Professor Safiya Noble, a renowned researcher at the University of Los Angeles, mentioned during a festival in Rio de Janeiro in 2022 that AI is widely used to predict futures. Still, it must be remembered that its functioning depends on data and that it carries with it cultural values. However, the data used to shape these futures is often imbued with biases, reflecting racist, classist, and sexist views, thus perpetuating an oppressive and highly exclusionary past. The question then arises: how do we create a future that fits everyone using data from this past/present?

Safiya points to the opportunities that exist today for dialogue, especially with technical professionals responsible for the development of these technologies, to foster a new generation of more conscious developers. Reflecting on the humanization of technologies and creating bridges between the technical and sociological domains is a key issue for the technology sector. It is necessary to encourage the training of philosopher engineers and more sociologist developers.

Source: Olabi

A positive aspect of the relationship between Artificial Intelligence and inclusion lies in the possibility of taking advantage of the early stage of development of these technologies, which, although constantly evolving, is still in the construction process. In this sense, it is imperative to encourage diversity in the production of these technologies since this will allow the creation of possibilities not yet imagined.

Imagine what Artificial Intelligence could become if it were built by black people, women, from peripheral communities and not only consumed by these audiences? In 2017, the “Pretalab” project was launched in Brazil. Starting from the premise that black women were already producing technology, although there was no official data on their contribution to the technological scenario, a base was established with more than 700 black women working in various technology areas. The project thus seeks to promote a change in the protagonism of this universe, taking this opportunity to provoke a paradigm shift. This initiative acquires greater relevance when considering the Brazilian context, in which racism and machismo are structural problems. By stating that racism and machismo are structural, it refers to the fact that they are the rule, not the exception.

By encouraging the protagonism of women, black people, individuals from peripheral communities and non-binary people, not only inclusion is promoted, but also the stimulation of new ways of thinking and acting. In this sense, it is crucial to avoid approaching inclusion merely as a target audience, as the real target of transformation should be the set of underlying cultural parameters. To construct new narratives, the engagement of new narrators is necessary. To tackle old problems, it is essential to propose innovative solutions. Therefore, it is necessary to visualize that Artificial Intelligence can be an ally in this process if it is allowed to be also played by other bodies and minds. Therefore, why not take advantage of this moment of change in the technological standard to broaden the discussion?

If these transformations are applied on a large scale, it will be possible to envision a new form of Artificial Intelligence. Today, there is an opportunity to redefine the meaning of AIs and to stimulate their production and knowledge as tools for building truly inclusive futures. Opening space for different worldviews is essential to create new social codes driven by new protagonists.

Considering this theme is of general interest, how can these discussions be broadened and incorporated into contexts such as the press, audiovisual productions and the school environment? How to bring together diverse social problems and the solutions that can emerge from unexpected areas? Taking advantage of this moment when Artificial Intelligence represents a sea of possibilities for new constructions is crucial to rebuild the urban structure, the educational system, and so far.

Overall, there are many challenges in bringing these discussions to a more pragmatic level. However, the message conveyed here, in order to start these reflections, is the following: inclusion means stimulating protagonism; inclusion means accepting that new perspectives can emerge. Therefore, by encouraging more people to actively participate in building the present and the future, everyone wins.

[1] Sil Bahia is a professional in the fields of technology, innovation and social inclusion. As co-executive director of Olabi and coordinator of PretaLab, she works to promote equity and diversity in the technological field, especially for black women.