The Black Technical Object: On Machine Learning and the Aspiration of Black Being by Ramon Amaro
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On the abstruse nature of machine learning, mathematics, and the deep incursion of racial hierarchy.
To impair the racial ordering of the world, The Black Technical Object introduces the history of statistical analysis and “scientific” racism into research on machine learning. Computer programming designed for taxonomic patterning, machine learning offers useful insights into racism and racist behavior, but its connection to the racial history of science and the Black lived experience has yet to be developed. In this book, Ramon Amaro explores how the history of data and statistical analysis informs the complex relationship between race and machine learning. He juxtaposes a practical analysis of this type of computerized learning with a theory of Black alienation in order to inspire alternative approaches to contemporary algorithmic practice. In doing so, Amaro contemplates the abstruse nature of programming and mathematics, as well as the deep incursion of racial hierarchies.
Series Overview: In the decades that followed the demise of decolonial struggles and the end of the USSR, a great deal of intellectual effort was devoted to conceptualizing political emancipation as freedom from the masses rather than freedom for the masses. Focusing on connectivity rather than on collectivity, these modalities of political action led to depoliticizing effects and to a certain counter-political ethos expressed in terms such as parapolitics, psychopolitics, or micropolitics, all which this series terms “antipolitical.” Rather than counter the arguments that each term puts forth, On the Antipolitical, edited by Ana Teixeira Pinto, suggests historizing this disposition, situating it within the neocolonial continuum that animates the digital frontier as the new locus of settler becoming.
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