Abeba Birhane: The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity (Sandberg Lecture)

This is the second public lecture in the series by Recipes for a Technological Undoing, an extracurricular programme at the Sandberg Instituut.

Abeda Birhane will share how systems of algorithmic classification, ordering, and prediction work to impose legibility on inherently complex, dynamic, and fluid aspects of human nature. Departing from embodied and enactive cognitive sciences, she describes humans and social systems as irreducible to our measurable averages. Positing that “there is no clear line demarcating where the mind ends and the world begins.” This approach recognizes that uncertainty, ambiguity, and fluidity, not static dichotomies, exemplify human beings and our interactions.

Abeba Birhane is a cognitive science researcher at the Complex Software Lab in the school of computer science at University college Dublin, Ireland. Her interdisciplinary research sits at the intersection of complex adaptive systems, machine learning, and critical race studies.

“On the one hand, complexity science tells us that people, as complex adaptive systems are inherently indeterminable. On the other, machine learning systems that claim to predict human behavior are becoming ubiquitous in all spheres of social life. Machine prediction, when deployed to high-stake situations, not only is erroneous but also presents real harm to those at the margins of society. I examine questions of such nature in my work.” – Abeba Birhane

Thursday November 4th, 2021, 16:00 – 18:00
Sandberg Theory Stairs (on campus, enter near the garden)
Fred. Roeskestraat 96 1076 ED Amsterdam

Recipes for a Technological Undoing invites students to work across disciplines to generate new understandings of how artists and designers can combat techno-determinism. We seek to unravel the assumption that technological progress in the way it has manifested was inevitable and will continue to be so. Undoing the structures that seek to quantify, rank, capture, and predict our endless ways of being.

For more: https://extraintra.nl/initiative/undoing

Sign up to our email list: https://forms.gle/VNHis58uyQKMWzcN6