UNESCO suggests that given the dizzying advance of artificial intelligence, the role and inclusion of indigenous communities in the development and implementation of this technology must be rethought.
Artificial intelligence has been positioned as the technology that promises to transform the way we live and work in the medium term. Its emergence is compared to the emergence of the commercial internet – which has made it possible to adopt the way of life that prevails today.
A few days ago Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, predicted that artificial intelligence could absorb routine and tedious work so that people can work three days a week. There is a lot of talk about this technology in working life, for example, but what about indigenous communities?
This week the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a report commissioned by its offices in Montevideo and Mexico, which addresses the challenges in the development and deployment of ethical artificial intelligence that includes the indigenous peoples of Latin America. And in the dizzying advance of the digital era, little is said about these communities, which in addition to suffering from wage, economic, labor, and inclusion gaps, are often also left out of cutting-edge technological developments.
The UNESCO report invites us to stop and think about who are the architects of the artificial intelligence revolution, and who is marginalized from the development and implementation of this technology that, without a doubt, has grabbed all the headlines in the sector this year. .
The inclusion of these communities is considered crucial not only for ethical and social reasons, but also for the enriching potential they provide through their traditional knowledge rooted in centuries-old traditions, languages and practices, the document states.
Titled “Artificial intelligence focused on indigenous peoples. Perspectives from Latin America and the Caribbean”, the document highlights that artificial intelligence can play a fundamental role in the preservation and transmission of knowledge of indigenous communities, in addition to safeguarding and promoting indigenous languages.
In other words, democratize artificial intelligence while respecting the human rights and perspectives of indigenous communities to incorporate their worldview and culture into this technology, which is the latest million-dollar business fought over by big technology.
“In Latin America and the Caribbean, the more than 800 indigenous peoples distributed throughout the territory are historically marginalized and excluded groups. Nation projects, focused on economic growth and the construction of a homogeneous identity, have relegated the knowledge, practices and experiences of indigenous peoples. The region has the highest proportion of the population of indigenous peoples in the world, with more than 8%, but they are also the towns with the highest proportion of people in extreme poverty, close to 30%.
“In addition to economic poverty, the ethnic digital divide is another obstacle to the enjoyment of the rights of indigenous peoples, since the development of infrastructure for connectivity in Latin America and the Caribbean has prioritized urban areas, negatively impacting the enjoy the right to connectivity of people in rural communities and non-urban indigenous communities,” says the document published by UNESCO and proposes the inclusion of indigenous peoples as creators of technologies, not only as objects of study.