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A Global and Transhistorical View of Artificial Intelligence: Labor and Rights

General Programming

dateNovember 3, 2023 timeFriday, 3:00pm EDT location The Forum at Columbia University, Columbia UniversityRoom 315
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Center for Comparative Media
  • Columbia Global
  • Institute for the Study of Human Rights
  • Committee on Global Thought
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.

A panel discussion on issues typically overlooked in recent debates on artificial intelligence bringing together leading scholars of AI's exploitative labor practices, and the embedded exclusionary injustices and uneven geographies. The event marks the beginning a robust conversation hosted by the Committee on Global Thought in partnership with other institutions at Columbia and beyond, about the social and historical basis of AI with the aim of creating a critical theoretical, praxis-oriented, and multi-disciplinary approach towards this newest form of techno-futurism.


Sareeta Amrute is an Associate Professor of Strategic Design and Management at The New School. She investigates data-centric technologies and societies. She uses ethnographic methods to explore how algorithmic technologies and AI systems change and are changed by social relations, especially in global South Asia. Her body of research focuses on kinds of labor and capitalism inaugurated by these technologies and the ways that they may reproduce and reinforce, as well as upend long-standing colonial relations.

Julie Yujie Chen is an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information, and Technology (ICCIT) at the University of Toronto Mississauga and holds a graduate appointment at the Faculty of Information. She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining the University of Toronto, she was a Lecturer in the School of Media, Communication, and Sociology at the University of Leicester.

Rafael Do Nascimento Grohmann is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies with a focus on Critical Platform and Data Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), with a graduate cross-appointment at the Faculty of Information (iSchool). He is also the leader of the DigiLabour Initiative and a researcher on the Fairwork project. In addition, he serves as an Editorial Board Member of Big Data & Society and Work, Employment and Society journals.

Yousif Hassan, University of Illinois, work examines the social, economic, and political implications of emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and data focusing on the relationship between race, digital technology, and technoscientific capitalism. Dr. Hassan’s interest is at the intersection of social and racial justice, and technology policy. His most recent project investigates the development of AI and its innovation ecosystem across multiple African countries focusing on data governance and the sociotechnical knowledge production practices of the state, scientists, and the tech industry.


Manan Ahmed, Associate Professor, is a historian of South Asia and the littoral western Indian Ocean world from 1000-1800 CE. His areas of specialization include intellectual history in South and Southeast Asia; critical philosophy of history, colonial and anti-colonial thought. He is interested in how modern and pre-modern historical narratives create understandings of places, communities, and intellectual genealogies for their readers. He is a member of the Committee on Global Thought and Department of History, Columbia University.

Response and Closing Remarks

Edward Ongweso Jr., Logic(s)