Blackness in Machine Learning

Dedren Snead

AI/Machine Learning Future Intelligence - Dedren Snead

Our society continues to build and implement the technologies that will determine the interaction between man and machine. However, when it comes to the methodologies utilities to gather data, translate cultural differences and authentically interpreting the Black American experience, there is a severe and dangerous gap to how AI and machine-led programs interpret Blackness. Current datasets contain protocols, records and omissions that inherently are biased towards melanin in scanning, in dialect and non-Eurocentric language through audible records, and neglect much of the historical and scientific accomplishment of the underrepresented. Can current science accurately determine brainwave patterns when subjects are wearing protective hair styles? How can Black People be equitably included in a system designed against them? Afrofuturism is the answer. Creatives in the spaces that utilize technological tools in entertainment such as Unity, Blender, AltSpace VR, graphic novels and video games intersect the Metaverse with a wealth of transmedia and data that AI can build upon. Popular
culture and consumable content created by marginalized voices and STEMenriched talents become invaluable pools of story, workforce development and of validated data to stay included in our Shared Futures. The definition of Blackness in America is one rooted in resistance to the systemic injustices that the experiences in the United States have long fostered. Now that the future of America is reliant on collaboration with machines and immersive technologies, will their interpretations of prejudices be a hindrance or an advantage in dealing with the systems of the future? The Black Creative Class holds the keys to an equitable digital tomorrow.

Dedren Snead is an emerging technologist, creative consultant and social futurist from Snow Hill, North Carolina, currently based in Atlanta. Snead’s creative studio work utilizes graphic novels, video games and animation along with mobile applications and augmented reality to build inclusive storytelling and cultural
equity in Popular Media. A serial entrepreneur, Snead’s startup SUBSUME, a gamified learning platform, connects K-20 students to creative and technical training for future-ready workforce development. He recently accepted an Artist in Residence position with the Creative Media Industries Institute at Georgia State University for the Y22 school year and is a Shuford Program in Entrepreneurship Innovator or Residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focused on Technology and Afrofuturism developing workforce talents in STEM careers.