[Air-L] Call For Abstracts - Critical Political Economy of AI: Southern Experiences

Preeti Raghunath preetimalaraghunath at gmail.com
Tue Apr 11 04:51:19 PDT 2023

Hello everyone,

Apologies for emailing in quick succession. I have been informed that the
previous mail did not allow for the attachment to be carried. Please find
the text below. Do consider sending an abstract if this Call resonates with
your work.

*Call For Abstracts*

*Critical Political Economy of AI: Southern Experiences*

Recent uptake of Generative AI tools has brought to the fore conversations
on the usefulness and downsides of applications like ChatGPT. Reports on
the deployment of cheap labour at firms housed in Asia, Africa and Latin
America to clean and feed datasets for the training of these AI systems are
steadily streaming in (Williams et al, 2022). Such global patterns of the
extraction of transnational labour and distribution of resources are not
new. They have been studied in the context of the outsourcing of technology
and business processes (Chandrasekhar, 2005), content moderation services
(Gillespie et al, 2020) and ghost work (Gray and Suri, 2019). Further,
research in recent years has showcased how machine learning (ML) and
artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are prone to accentuating
inequities *already existing* in societies, through black-box training of
datasets laden with biases that reflect such societal imbalances
(Buolamwini and Gebru, 2018). All these inequities are premised on extant
disparities along patriarchal, racialised, eugenicised, casteist, regional,
economic and ableist lines that then get amplified by selective design and
implementation of these technologies. This Call For Abstracts seeks to
engage with perspectives that interrogate and provide scholarly vocabulary
and lenses to understand these developments in the field of machine
learning and AI technologies, as they implicate our political, economic,
social and cultural lives. In doing so, this edited collection aims to
present a Critical Political Economy approach to the study of ML and AI
technologies, highlighting inequities and emphasising the radical
reimagination of alternatives (Wigger, 2022).

Over the past few years, there have been efforts in the fields of Sociology
and Communication to develop and underscore the theoretical framework of a
Southern Standpoint (Go, 2016; Raghunath, forthcoming) to understand
situated experiences of historical and current marginalities as a means to
underscore and draw attention to the multifarious forms of colonisation,
both *between *and *within *societies. This Call focuses on *Southern
experiences* along aforementioned lines, as perpetuated or mitigated by
these technologies. By drawing on this conceptualisation of a Southern
Standpoint as a possible way of exploring situated knowledges (Haraway,
1988) and experiences (Frie, 2011) of these technologies, this Call seeks
to ask the following questions: How can we draw up a critical political
economy of ML and AI technologies while these developments are currently
underway across the globe? How do these technologies perpetuate or mitigate
existing inequities in intra-regional, national and societal contexts, and
who benefits? How can we implicate publicness as a desired ideal that can
hold proponents of these technologies to account? Finally, how does the
cooption of efforts in mitigating inequities take place, and how can we
work collectively to redress them?

The scope of themes include but are not limited to:

- Inequities and disparities in society, along patriarchal, racialised,
eugenicised, casteist, regional, economic and ableist lines perpetuated by
ML and AI technologies

- Geopolitical and regional lenses to the study the extraction and flow of
resources that power the building, promotion and access to these

- External, internal and multifarious forms of colonisation that draw on
similar such existing structures of domination and amplify inequities in
the context of these technologies

- Potential and possibilities of ML and AI technologies in mitigating

- Rights-restoring frameworks, anti-/de-colonial and Southern approaches
that help envisage ethical, collective, sustainable technology futures

- Public initiatives aimed at critical education to implement such
frameworks and approaches

Please email your abstracts to *preetimalaraghunath at gmail.com
<preetimalaraghunath at gmail.com>* by May 7, 2023. This edited collection
could take the form of a special issue for a journal or an edited book
project, efforts for which are currently underway.

*About the editor*: Dr. Preeti Raghunath is an incoming Lecturer in Digital
Media and Society at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her current work is
focused on inequities (policies and practices) pertaining to Data and AI
technologies. She is particularly interested in the histories and
situatedness of data-centric practices.

Many thanks,

Preeti Raghunath, PhD

Website: www.preetiraghunath.com
Twitter: @preetiraghunath

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