Towards decolonising computational sciences
SourceKvinder, Køn & Forskning, 2021, 1, (2021), pp. 60-73
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Language and Computation in Neural Systems
SW OZ DCC AI
Kvinder, Køn & Forskning
Subject270 Language and Computation in Neural Systems; Cognitive artificial intelligence
This article sets out our perspective on how to begin the journey of decolonising computational fields, such as data and cognitive sciences. We see this struggle as requiring two basic steps: a) realisation that the present-day system has inherited, and still enacts, hostile, conservative, and oppressive behaviours and principles towards women of colour; and b) rejection of the idea that centring individual people is a solution to system-level problems. The longer we ignore these two steps, the more "our" academic system maintains its toxic structure, excludes, and harms Black women and other minoritised groups. This also keeps the door open to discredited pseudoscience, like eugenics and physiognomy. We propose that grappling with our fields' histories and heritage holds the key to avoiding mistakes of the past. In contrast to, for example, initiatives such as "diversity boards", which can be harmful because they superficially appear reformatory but nonetheless center whiteness and maintain the status quo. Building on the work of many women of colour, we hope to advance the dialogue required to build both a grass-roots and a top-down re-imagining of computational sciences - including but not limited to psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, computer science, data science, statistics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. We aspire to progress away from these fields' stagnant, sexist, and racist shared past into an ecosystem that welcomes and nurtures demographically diverse researchers and ideas that critically challenge the status quo.
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