After lunch at Open Data Camp 7, consultant Edafe Onerhime explained why she had wanted to raise the issue of ‘decolonialising data’.
She is Nigerian as well as British, she explained, and her research had brought her into contact with the issue of “white by default.” As an example, she said, the census puts ‘white, British’ at the top of its identity options; which affects the data that is collected, because people have to scroll down to find other options.
At the same time, she said, a lot of technology relies on data collection and analysis that is carried out in India and countries and Africa. For example, a lot of tagging of pictures for what is billed as AI is done there. The taggers may not receive much money; yet their work is consumed by affluent, Western consumers.
So, the question: “How can we remove the effects of colonisation on data collection and use?” Campers at the session felt the first issue is to recognise that there is a problem, and the second is to get more voices at the table. Then, the assumptions underlying the collection and use of data need to be interrogated. Continue reading Decolonialising Data