Beyond Good or Bad
In 2021, MozFest adapted to the moment and went online for the first time. It felt even more necessary to come together (while apart) amidst a health pandemic: to feel a sense of community, to redefine global and digital solutions, and to address the escalating disparities in the world.
It turned out to be the right decision: The Festival grew from 3000 participants in 2019 to almost 10,000 participants from 145 countries in 2021. That signaled a deep eagerness for the Internet Health Movement to come together despite the limitations of 2020. A deep eagerness to organize and work across regions, practices, platforms, and languages in order to push back against the implications of harmful AI.
Wranglers, Facilitators, Volunteers, participants, partners and allies came together to examine and explore alternatives to how AI currently works: business models, data practices, design principles, power imbalances. We moved away from the binary into a space of imagination: not simply asking whether AI is good or bad, but rather how AI can be used for the collective good, and be leveraged to solve the enormous problems facing us today.
Each year we build upon the previous one, and this past MozFest we built momentum around the live event by extending the Plaza offerings beyond the traditional festival days. The next MozFest is taking place online on March 7-10, 2022. We are also experimenting with a nodal event model live in Amsterdam on March 25-27 called MozFest House: Amsterdam.
There is much uncertainty about what the next few months will look like in different parts of the world, yet change is happening now, online and on the ground, and we need to continue to come together in shifting forms to keep moving the needle.
9 MozFest Spaces
There are 9 Spaces, or thematic focuses, this coming year. Each of these spaces holds an urgency that the global community is invited to contribute to. Decolonized AI Futures and Digitizing Cultures & Languages are an invitation to think about AI systems that center the values of the global majority. Gender, Tech & Intersectionality and Creating Neurodiverse Wellbeing are provocations to address the multitudes of being and how to create safe spaces for everyone online. Digital ID & Privacy, Misinformation & Disinformation, and Rethinking Power & Ethics invite us to think about the AI powered information ecosystem: what is it built on? To what end? And how can we protect ourselves from the erosion of privacy?
As AI continues to be woven into the fabric of our social lives, it is our greatest responsibility and opportunity to hold it to account. To ensure privacy and consent are at the core of its design. To ensure communities have access to data practices that determine the outcomes of their lives. To make sure that AI principles don't exacerbate racial and social inequality. To create technology we can trust. MozFest will always fuel and power the tide that is pushing against harmful practices towards a healthier internet for everyone.