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Talking AI& Black Archives at Squadcon...

I presented the following talk at Black Girls Hack's Squadcon:

"When will AI find us?: Black Archives & Narratives of Humanity

This talk explores my preliminary thoughts about AI as a site of knowledge production and its implications for everyday people who seek to understand Black History. How accessible is Black History within the AI? How accurate is Black History within AI? What kind of tools/products could be useful in future iterations of this technology? Why do such questions matter?"

Squadcon was sponsored by a range of tech companies and was a real investment in diversifying the field of cybersecurity. It was founded by Tennisha Martin, a black woman with interest in cybersecurity, who wanted to build a space for other marginalized minorities to learn and grow into the field. The keynote speakers included Camille Stewart Gloster, Esq., the Deputy National Cyber Director for Technology & Ecosystem for the White House; Director Jen Easterly, the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA); and, Marcus J. Carey, a cybersecurity expert and co-author of the "Tribe of Hackers” book series.

I was surprised and grateful by how often folks in the room referenced the humanities or talked about it playing an integral part of their everyday life. Not explicitly---but conversations casually included topics like how creative writing (poetry & prose), art-making , and/or visiting museums helped folks think more expansively about their work.

Deputy Director Gloster at one point said that the field of cybersecurity must build bridges far beyond itself--with a range of other disciplines. She said not doing so could eventually be a threat to security. Director Easterly talked about the value of you working hard and playing hard. She views art and artmaking as an important space of leisure--integral to her work. She also expressed the need for the field to engage in more diverse conversations, in order to face and ultimately find solutions to the most complicated of questions. Carey provided a list of books for folks who are interested in learning how the field of AI and cybersecurity has changed over time. The references often were historical as well as technical. He also referenced the need for the field to diversify...the value of having folks in the room who can speak to our contemporary moment--from a range of perspectives.

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