Technology has a complicated relationship with racial justice. Smartphones, internet platforms, and other digital tools can be used to document and expose racism. But digital tools can also fuel racism: smart doorbells surveil Black individuals. Facial recognition systems routinely misidentify Black faces. And recommendation algorithms can promote racist disinformation. As the AI in consumer technology grows more sophisticated and prevalent, this relationship will become even more complex.
So today, Mozilla is announcing $245,000 in funding for Black artists who use art to spotlight how AI can reinforce — or disrupt — systems of oppression.
Grants will be made in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $30,000, and awardees may be based anywhere in the world. Winning projects could be interactive websites, short films, browser-based games, or other digital media capable of reaching a broad online audience.
The funds constitute Mozilla’s third annual Creative Media Awards, which support people and projects on the front lines of the internet health movement — from creative technologists in Japan, to tech policy analysts in Uganda, to privacy activists in the U.S. Creative Media Awards are supported by the NetGain Partnership, a collaboration between Mozilla, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation. The goal of this philanthropic collaboration is to advance the public interest in the digital age.
Past Creative Media Awards have interrogated algorithmic bias in dating apps and human resources departments; they have spotlighted the dangers of deepfakes and emotion recognition technology; and they have raised awareness about filter bubbles and bots.
Says J. Bob Alotta, Mozilla VP of Global Programs: “Black artistry exists within a long-standing tradition of applying rigorous artistic analysis to the most compelling issues in society. With these awards, we’re eager to continue that tradition — and also to fuel the long-overdue interrogations of race and racism happening now in the U.S. and around the globe.”
J. Bob Alotta, VP of Global Programs, Mozilla
Says Jenn Beard, Program Officer who leads Mozilla’s Creative Media Awards: “The Creative Media Awards uplift art to communicate complex technical concepts, deepening our understanding of technology and calling us to demand accountability from those who build and deploy it. At Mozilla, we care deeply about building an internet that is representative of all voices and the CMAs are one way we can realize that ambition.”
The first step to applying for a Creative Media Award is to nominate an artist or yourself. If you are aware of an artist or technologist working in the areas outlined in the call for proposals, we encourage you to nominate them to apply. If you fulfill the requirements for this Award opportunity, please feel free to self-nominate and include an optional letter of support with your full application. The deadline to submit a nomination is September 14, 2020 at 12pm EDT.
To submit a nomination, visit https://mozilla.fluxx.io/apply/cma.
Eligible submissions must be at either the conceptual or prototype stage, must be digital in nature and, when complete, freely available and easily accessible. Applicants should self-identify as Black (African, African-American, Afro-Latino, African-diasporic or of African descent). These awards are open to all applicants regardless of geographic location or institutional affiliation, except where legally prohibited.
Winners will be selected by a panel of judges who are artists, technologists, and activists working in the same space.
For a comprehensive application guide, click here.