In this talk, Dr. Kate Crawford shares a preview of her new book Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence, published by Yale in April 2021. Atlas of AI explores the historical origins, labor practices, infrastructures, and epistemological assumptions that underlie the contemporary artificial intelligence. Rather than taking a narrow focus on code and algorithms, Dr. Crawford offers a political and a material perspective of how AI is “made:” from lithium mines in Nevada, to the exploited workers behind “automated” systems, to the regimes of classification in training data. This talk outlines how AI functions as a registry of power, which has only amplified during the pandemic at a time of deepening inequality around the world.
Dr. Kate Crawford is a leading scholar of the social and political implications of artificial intelligence. Her work focuses on understanding large-scale data systems, machine learning and AI in the wider contexts of history, politics, labor, and the environment. She is a Research Professor of Communication and STS at USC Annenberg, a Senior Principal Researcher at MSR-NYC, and the inaugural Visiting Chair for AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure. Her academic research has been published in journals such as Nature, New Media & Society, Science, Technology & Human Values and Information, Communication & Society. Crawford’s work also includes collaborative projects and visual investigations. Her project Anatomy of an AI System with Vladan Joler – which maps the full lifecycle of the Amazon Echo– won the Beazley Design of the Year Award in 2019, and is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her collaboration with the artist Trevor Paglen, Excavating AI, won the Ayrton Prize from the British Society for the History of Science. Crawford’s latest book, Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence is published by Yale University Press in 2021.