03 your dataset won’t let me thrive / your dataset must die

‘your dataset won’t let me thrive / your dataset must die’ are a pair of video essays that seek to counter the mythologies surrounding Artificial Intelligence datasets & algorithms They are carried out as a comparative study of the works of the Black Beat Poet Bob Kaufman and the Kannada Dalit poet Siddalingaiah whose words (translation) are input into the text based neural network GPT-2.  The visual aesthetics of the work are drawn from generative AI imagery of brown faces, creative programming as well as animated representation of the words of each poet alongside text generated by the algorithm. The inability of the algorithm to generate text drawn from sufficient references to Black & Bahujan lived experiences reveal the encoded biases within the dataset and trace their origins to harmful mythologies of Caste & Race.

The works were commissioned by the Mozilla Foundation as part of the Reclaiming AI Futures project for the AI Observatory (https://ai-observatory.in/)

The image is a screengrab from the video 'your dataset won't let me thrive' and contains text laid against a black background with some generative abstract imagery. The text reads 'Abomunists Join Nothing But Their Hands or Legs, or Other Same'
Screengrab from ‘your dataset won’t let me thrive’

The image is a screengrab from the video 'your dataset must die' and contains abstract imagery of an AI generated face set against a dark blue background'
Screengrab from ‘your dataset must die’

02 Swaayattate (Autonomy)

The image contains a large eyeball with a pinkish cornea set against a black background.

In 2020, I was able to bring the ideas behind Subaltern Futurism as a speculative framework into my practice through my work Swaayattate (Autonomy). The work is an investigation into the complex entanglements of the synthetic and organic worlds. Taking the form of a bi-lingual trilogy, the films are set inside a computer repair marketplace in Bangalore and examines the nature of human-machine relationships through the contemporary lens of gender, caste and labour. The narrative moves between multiple timelines as the evolution of an embedded neural network references prescient concerns around language, accessibility and justice.

Portions of the script for the films were written in collaboration with a text based neural network GPT-2 Transformer (https://transformer.huggingface.co/) extracting & revealing the extent of encoded biases within this AI model. GPT-2 is essentially a text generator similar to the autocomplete functions on our phones. You can input words or sentences and the neural network generates the next word or sentence using pre trained machine-learning models. Widely hailed as being very close to human speech and syntax, my interactions with the language model has proven this to be highly misleading as they contain encoded biases brought over from the subjectivity of the programmers and its own training data. Chapter 2 ADI, speculates upon this process of transference of social biases into algorithmic ones.

Excerpt from Swaayattate (Autonomy)