Can We Make Kin With the Machines: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Artificial Intelligence
As artificial intelligence advances, we are faced with increasingly complex ethical issues and considerations. Thus far, as is the case with AI research and development in general, the dominant ethical approach has been through a Western techno-utilitarian lens which prioritizes human flourishing and development above all else. The anthropocentric approach insists that we label and treat AI as an objectified tool. Many Indigenous epistemologies, however, are founded on a relational ethic that refuses to ethically elevate humans. A relational ethic sees humans as equal partners in the world along with other entities and follows principles and practices of social and environmental sustainability. AI is a new technology, but many Indigenous peoples have long been practicing reciprocal relationships of mutual respect and aid with animate and inanimate entities. We can build on these paradigms and practices to inform our approach and relationship with AI. Such an approach would guide careful consideration of the development of the technology itself, and the way it participates in our networked society. Such an approach forces us to see AI as participating agent and to consider PAGE 6 what role it should play in a balanced and sustainable world of mutually respectful relationships. This project is somewhere between a literature review of work that broaches various aspects of “Indigenous AI”, a discussion of key philosophical issues around utilizing a relational ethic towards AI, and a meditation on what our relationship to AI says about us, our relationships to the world, and what it means to be human.
Head and Heart, artificial intelligence, Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Pawlick-Potts, Danica, "Can We Make Kin With the Machines: Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Artificial Intelligence" (2021). 2021 Cohort. 5.