By Christine Meinders
In Summer 2018, I was awarded the MDP Post-Graduate Fellowship to continue the collaborative research on artificial intelligence (AI) that I began during my graduate thesis. During my thesis, I worked with the group, “Feminist AI Projects: Bits and Bytes,” holding local community workshops that provided participants with access to AI design tools. We reached out to those who had not been socialized to participate in shaping technology and its applications. Our approach was to collaboratively design with voices that have not been heard from in AI creation.
Our year-long project resulted in new ways to imagine AI based on the group’s desire to use machine learning tools for social activism. Bits & Bytes members wanted to create a new way to protest, so that their presence could be felt in physical, online, virtual, and augmented realities and spaces. This community work was supported by the collaborative efforts of the Bits & Bytes participants as well as individuals at ArtCenter along with members of VoidLab, who are part of UCLA’s Design Media Arts program. It was also the practice-based research that formed the basis of my graduate thesis.
After this community work, I wanted to continue exploring inclusive approaches to AI education while highlighting biases in hegemonic AI. During my summer MDP Fellowship, I connected with Selwa Sweidan (MDP/Lab ’16), whose work draws from embodiment, neurotechnology and quantum computing. We share similar interests in the design space and started producing work together under the name “Artificial Knowing.” We were able to engage in site-specific research at HomeLA, an experimental dance collective, in which we investigated “embodied knowing” alongside “machine knowing;” and led workshops at Innovate Pasadena’s #Connect17, a festival for leaders in design, science, technology and entrepreneurship; and SupplyFrame, an incubator for emerging electronics. We are excited to announce that our panel, “AI X Radical Inclusion,” has been accepted by SXSW. Selwa will be moderating and I will be on the panel.
Our design practice incorporates the philosophy that emerged from “Feminist AI Projects: Bits & Bytes:” combining feminist theory with collaborative thinking and making from all knowledge systems. We have structured our studio, Artificial Knowing, to engage in client and community-facing work, and are excited about our next year-long project, which focuses on AI & Cities from multiple lenses and approaches. This new project officially launches at the end of January 2018.
Christine Meinders is an AI designer/researcher who uses collaborative and inclusive design approaches to co-author social AI projects and AI design tools. As a researcher and designer, Christine holds an MFA in Media Design Practices from ArtCenter College of Design and an MA in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Her research has focused on the design and utilization of emotion analysis in intelligent agents, inclusive design in AI, and collaborative design for embodiment in hybrid spaces. http://artificialknowing.com/