DESIGN JUSTICE AI: an interdisciplinary collaboration exploring community-centered engagement of “Generative AI” (the statistical modeling and synthesis of human languages, communication, arts, and cultures)
June 30-July 13 2024
Location: Centre for Advancement of Scholarship in collaboration with the Future Africa Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa
Proposal Due Date: January 5, 2024 (see below for submission details)
Early career scholars and advanced graduate students across the disciplines are invited to apply to join our Design Justice AI Institute, a CHCI-Mellon supported Global Humanities Institute. Our international team will cross the humanities, social sciences, arts, sciences, and engineering, and reach out to affected communities as we foster creative thinking, model new forms of research and design, and produce resources for scholars and the general public.
As commercial technologies aim to simulate and mediate human expression and creativity at an unprecedented scale, Design Justice AI will seek interdisciplinary standpoints and alliances that produce knowledge “from below”: through creative collaborations between researchers, students, and community partners. Our goal is not only to “critique” fast-developing technologies such as chatbots and large image models, but also to envision and promote technologies that work in the public interest: that is, safe, accountable, and inclusive systems that are receptive to many voices.
Design Justice AI is a collaboration between the Rutgers Center for Cultural Analysis, the Center for Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria, the Humanities Research Centre at ANU, the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut and the Design Justice Network. Our shared focus is the rapid diffusion of so-called generative AI–machine learning technologies that simulate human languages, communication, arts, and cultures through the statistical modeling of vast troves of “scraped” internet data. Our approach to these topics combines interdisciplinary critique, community-led design practices, public humanities, and innovative practices in data science, computer science, and digital humanities (DH), with collaborative research that strives to center people and cultures that have been marginalized by the design and implementation of AI systems (“generative” and otherwise).
Through publication of blogs, research templates, interviews, experimental datasets, recorded lectures, pedagogical practices, and peer-reviewed articles and special issues, our institute will share resources that help to diffuse these critical methods. In doing so, we hope to help any campus to develop nuanced understanding of and engagement with “generative AI,” including robust pedagogical strategies, and the potential for community-centered projects of research and implementation informed by design justice principles.
From June 30 – July 13, 2024, participants will gather in Pretoria for a 12-day institute. Sessions will address Design Justice AI through a broad range of perspectives, (inter)disciplinary standpoints, and methodologies. Early career participants will be invited to share their work in 20-25 minute presentations as well as to take part in breakout sessions, workshops, mentoring activities, hybrid keynote lectures, and site visits. The Institute also includes a two-day public facing “Discotech” in which students and members of the local community will join us for “hands on” activities in translation; resourcing of local language data; multi-media art, music, and performative projects; and the training of new language models.
Design Justice AI Institute welcomes applications on a wide range of topics including:
- Community-led and design justice approaches to the design and implementation of “AI” systems
- Challenges to developing generative language models for “under-resourced” and indigenous languages and cultures; challenges involving multilingualism and translation
- Design justice as a lens for understanding and interrogating the ontological, politico-economic, and socio-cultural underpinnings of AI’s dominant paradigms for research, implementation, and commercialization
- Critical AI literacy and other approaches to teaching and learning with and about “generative AI”
- AI harms
- Indigenous ontologies, sovereignties, and approaches to AI developments and/or resistance
- AI and local, regional, and intersectional communities of practice
- Data, data privacy, and datafication (ideas for and reflections on “generative AI” as a data-driven technology that bears on topics including surveillance, data commons, copyright, data sovereignty, new and alternative technologies and policies)
- Governance and regulation (ideas for and reflections on “generative AI” in light of public accountability, “bills of rights,” intellectual property, transparency, and the design and enforcement of regulatory frameworks both existing and new)
- Environmental impacts and more-than-human relations
- Creativity and critical practice with (or about) “generative AI”; fictional and other speculative approaches envisioning AI-influenced or AI-resistant futures
- Histories of AI and their ongoing influence
- Interrogating rhetorics of “bias” and “mitigation” in challenging corporate/commercial AI ethics
- Cultures of “existential risk”
- Interdisciplinary collaborations (and challenges) in designing community-led AI projects and systems, “generative” or otherwise
- Model scale (technological alternatives to large data-driven models)
- Terminological questions: “Benchmarks” for assessing “intelligence” “general intelligence” and terms such as “AGI”
- Concentration of power, “Big Tech,” and resource intensivity in the building and implementation of (generative) AI systems
For a complete list of co-organizers and announcement of keynote panels on an ongoing basis, see this link
Application Requirements: Applicants must be either advanced graduate students or within twelve years of receiving a Ph.D. The competition is open to anyone from anywhere in the world whose universities are affiliated with CHCI. Direct affiliation with a Center is not necessary, only affiliation with the home institution housing a Center is required. We also welcome applications from community organizers, independent artists/scholars, activists, librarians, K-12 teachers, social workers, and public intellectuals with demonstrable experience working with AI-related technologies and their impacts on communities.
The Design Justice AI Institute will fully fund roundtrip travel to, accommodation at, and food during the 12-day event for all successful applicants with the expectation that these participants will actively take part in the Institute, with arrival and departure slated for June 29-July 14.
Applicants should be willing and able to commit to engaging in and contributing to every aspect of the Institute, attending all sessions throughout the entire Institute.
Applications have three components: (1) a statement of no more than 500 words which demonstrates substantial interest in the themes of the Institute which provides some sense of the form of the 20-25 minute presentation; (2) a CV of no more than three pages; and (3) a brief travel budget so that we can estimate aggregate cost.
The organizers recognize that “generative AI” is a complicated and multi-faceted domain that affects different disciplines in uneven ways. We will provide suggested readings and videos on select topics of interest (ranging from socio-technical dimensions to design justice approaches) so as to enable all participants to share a basic set of resources in anticipation of higher-level interdisciplinary work.
The deadline for submissions is January 5 2024.
THE SUBMISSIONS FORM IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION.
IT WILL BE AVAILABLE SOON.
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