GSFS Advising 


Rumman Chowdhury on AI Ethics and Algorithmic Colonialism

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 10:00to12:00

We are partnering with MUTEK IMG to bring Dr. Rumman Chowdhury to speak about her work on AI ethics.

Algorithmic Colonialism: As AI technologies are integrated in the global south, we risk repeating the problems of the past by creating extractionary industrial practices. Historically, resource-rich African nations have not seen the benefits of their riches; the 'resource curse' research highlights how these nations traditionally have high levels of corruption and poorly developed local economies. Today's new 'resource' is data. The rise of the African Tech sector has been spurred by significant investment by industry, and in particular, Chinese AI companies. How can we use this new wave of AI development to address, rather than import, the issues that arise with the implementation of AI? How can we structure the implementation of this technology to help local African economies flourish? This talk is an early-stage review of ongoing research with with Abeba Birhane, PhD student at University of Dublin.

Dr. Rumman Chowdhury’s passion lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence and humanity. She holds degrees in quantitative social science and has been a practicing data scientist and AI developer since 2013. She is currently the Global Lead for Responsible AI at Accenture Applied Intelligence, where she works with C-suite clients to create cutting-edge technical solutions for ethical, explainable and transparent AI.

In her work as Accenture’s Responsible AI lead, she led the design of the Fairness Tool, a first-in-industry algorithmic tool to identify and mitigate bias in AI systems. The Fairness Tool has been utilized successfully at Accenture clients around the world. Dr. Chowdhury co-authored a Harvard Business Review piece on the tool.

Dr. Chowdhury holds two undergraduate degrees from MIT, a master's degree in Quantitative Methods of the Social Sciences from Columbia University, and a doctorate in political science from the University of California, San Diego.

This event is part of the Feminist and Accessible Publishing and Communications Technologies Speaker and Workshop Series ( This series was made possible thanks to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies of McGill, MILA, the Dean of Arts Development Fund of McGill, Media @McGill, McGill's Department of History and Classical Studies, the William Dawson Fund, RéQEF, the Moving Image Research Laboratory, Element AI, and L'Euguélionne: Montreal's Feminist Bookstore.

The MUTEK Festival was founded in Montréal 20 years ago by Alain Mongeau, who was a chair of the ISEA international headquarters in Montréal at that time. Today we also have permanent editions in Mexico, Barcelona, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Dubai and San Francisco. Our core content is audiovisual performance, electronic live music and digital creativity a large. Our mission is to encourage artists to push the creative boundaries of their practice, develop audiences for this type of work, and nourish critical thinking with regards to technology and society. MUTEK is an internationally renowned reference event in its field, however we aim to keep things at a human scale in order to create a meaningful, transformative experience for participating artists, professionals and audiences. Our 20th festival edition will take place from August 20-25, 2019 and present around 120 performances and installations in 6 venues in downtown Montréal.

MUTEK IMG festival, AI contents include discussions on AI & tech through the lens of Indigenous epistemologies by artist-researchers Jason Lewis and Suzanne Kite based on their paper published by MIT Press; a workshop by Russian curator Natalia Fuchs (Russia) and artist Helena Nikonole (Berlin); and a panel on authorship and AI hosted by researcher Valérie Bécaert at Element AI with Ash Koosha.

Unlike our other 22 events, there is a fee to attend this event.
However, in order to make this material accessible, we hope to release a video of Dr. Chowdhury's talk after the event.

Time will be updated closer to the event.

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