Introducing “HOPE,” a Mozilla Creative Media Award project created by Tracey Bowen
Within the last decade, an unfamiliar presence has quickly emerged and permeated our lives: AI. Once a figment of our imagination, artificial intelligence like facial recognition now rests in the palms of our hands in the form of smartphones and home security systems. But what happens when something made to work for us becomes not only a hindrance, but a barrier to our freedom?
In the case of Black people across the globe, this is already a reality. Artificial intelligence has already obstructed their access to employment, healthcare, and other necessary aspects of normal life. So, with the use of AI set to become even more commonplace, how do we stop bias and discrimination when there is still a widespread lack of awareness of the issue, even amongst those with the power to create the systems?
‘HOPE’ is a new documentary and immersive experience by artist and civic tech entreprenuer Tracey Bowen and part of the Mozilla Creative Media Awards. It follows Bowen's journey to establish the UK’s first black-led ‘task force’ to tackle bias and discrimination in artificial intelligence.
‘HOPE’ presents the issue of AI bias and discrimination, with interviewees including historian Dr. Edson Burton and Nate Wessler from the American Civil Liberties Union, highlighting what changes must be made to “create ethical futures we have agency over”. With ‘HOPE’, Bowen aims to raise the public's awareness of the bias of AI algorithms, starting a conversation on what needs to be done.
Bowen hopes to change the social harms that can be caused by AI discrimination. She says, “Poorly constructed algorithms release harm onto society without much intervention, almost with impunity - that could create a future where oppression and bias is baked into the code. This fight needs to be on a wider, grander scale: and it has to be Black-led.”
The film documents Bowen’s journey recruiting prominent individuals to the UK’s first Black-led group to highlight and challenge some of the bias built into these emerging systems. It will educate, monitor, intervene and lead in the discussion and implementation of new AI technologies, inspired by other similar initiatives such as the Algorithmic Justice League.
First screened during the ‘Black Lab As Art’ installation in Bristol’s City Hall, it will be released in two parts - one focusing on social harms and the other focused on technological issues - over the course of 31st August - 3rd September. The installation also offers workshops, discussions and community polls for the public to get involved with, including an NFT auction of art shown in the film.
You can find out more about HOPE at: www.hopeimmersive.com/
Mozilla’s Creative Media Awards are part of our mission to realize more trustworthy AI. The awards fuel the people and projects on the front lines of the internet health movement — from activists to documentary filmmakers to researchers.
The latest cohort of Awardees are all Black artists who spotlight how AI can reinforce — or disrupt — systems of oppression. The AI systems in our everyday lives can perpetuate and amplify biases that have long existed offline: Recommendation algorithms promote racist messages. Facial recognition systems misidentify Black faces. And voice assistants like Alexa and Siri struggle to understand Black voices. As the AI in consumer technology grows more sophisticated and prevalent, problems like these will grow even more complex.