Join Dr. Rhonda McEwen, Suzanne van Geuns, Robyn Hillman-Harrigan, and De’Aira Bryant for a conversation that explores the intersections between artificial intelligence, spirituality, and critical race theory, moderated by Efosa Obano, lead Program Coordinator for the Black Founders Network at the University of Toronto’s Entrepreneurship Centre.
Increasingly, humans have looked toward artificial intelligence to overcome human limitations, flaws, and build towards a techno utopia. Private and public companies have tapped into these hopeful associations and are actively looking to AI to automate decision-making processes within economic sectors, health, transportation, retail, education, the justice system, and many more. But, can AI truly solve real-world problems? Does AI make us more human? Faith, spirituality and religion are part of the human experience, and how AI interprets and normalizes these human conditions has huge implications for people of African descent and the BIPOC community at large. How will the Black experience be impacted by these algorithms?
Join Hart House, the Centre for Student Engagement, and the Multi-Faith Centre for a conversation around AI, spirituality, and the Black experience, with guest panelists Dr. Rhonda McEwen, Suzanne van Geuns, Robyn Hillman-Harrigan, and moderated by Efosa Obano, as we explore the intersections between artificial intelligence, spirituality, and Black experiences.
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Efosa Obano manages a U of T program that supports Black founders with capital, community and capacity building. He also started and leads the African Impact Initiative, which invests in young African innovators. He has experience with using technology to create social impact, invest with impact, and build early-stage ventures. Until recently, he led a team that guided startups on their digital transformation journeys with Dell. He also led community outreach for Dell Canada's Social Impact Team & Black Networking Alliance.
UTM’s Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean and Professor of Emerging Technology at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology
Rhonda McEwen is UTM’s Vice-Principal, Academic and Dean and is a Professor of Emerging Technology at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology. She holds an MBA in Information Technology from City University in London, England, an MSc in Telecommunications from the University of Colorado, and a PhD in Information from University of Toronto. Professor McEwen was previously U of T’s first Special Advisor on Anti-Racism and Equity. As a researcher, instructor, and consultant of new technologies around information practices, Professor McEwen focuses particularly on mobile and tablet communication, virtual reality, communicating with robots, and social networks.
Suzanne van Geuns
Suzanne van Geuns is a scholar of North American religion and computational technologies. Her current project examines how antifeminist forums refer to artificial intelligence research when they articulate what it means to be the right kind of man.
Computer science doctoral student in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology
De’Aira Bryant is a computer science doctoral student in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research areas span the fields of human-robot interaction and artificial intelligence where she explores the possibilities for interactive communication between children and social robots. In particular, she is interested in developing emotionally intelligent robotic systems and promoting the use of AI for social good.
Data Scientist, Writer, Activist, and Nonprofit founder
Robyn Hillman-Harrigan is a Data Scientist, Writer, Activist, and Nonprofit founder, currently serving as a Race & Tech fellow at the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry. She is a STEM NRG Senior Fellow, a 2020 Google Rare Leadership cohort member and an Antler entrepreneur. Her work has always centered around using data and education to empower accessible, intersectional feminist, queer-informed, racial and economic equity. Robyn earned her BA in History at the University of Melbourne in Australia, specializing in First Nations History and Politics. Robyn’s graduate coursework was in radical pedagogy, where she earned a Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Melbourne, with subject specialization in History and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).