Set in an Afro-futurist dystopia, the film explores topics of AI and bias through the story of Aero; produced by Mozilla’s Creative Media Awards recipient Anatola Araba, the film aims to entertain, enlighten, inspire, and educate.
On Wednesday, March 9 at 2 pm ET, Mozilla’s MozFest will host the world premiere of Afro Algorithms, a short film exploring how AI reinforces — and disrupts — systems of oppression even in an AfroFuturist Utopia. The film is written, directed, and produced by Anatola Araba, winner of the Mozilla Foundation’s 2021 Creative Media Award.
Watch the film below - it's at the 25:41 mark in the video:
Afro Algorithms explores the topics of AI and Bias through the story of Aero, the world’s first AI leader. With her limited programming, Aero soon realizes she has a whole host of missing worldviews from her databank — most noticeably the stories of the historically marginalized and oppressed.
The 14-minute short film, written, directed, and produced by Araba, is set in an Afro-futurist dystopia/ utopia similar to Wakanda. Araba, one of Mozilla’s Creative Media Awards recipients in 2021, aims to entertain, enlighten, inspire, and educate through this project that she started working on during the 2020 lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Whether human beings or machines, we can all learn something from Afro Algorithms,” shared Araba. “I created this story to spark important conversations about race, technology, and where humanity is driving the future of this planet.”
To bring this project to life, Araba teamed up with Nigeria-based 2D and 3D animator Duru Azubuike, South Africa-based 3D artist Nkosana Ngwenya and France-based Jeebrahil who composed all the original music. To ensure the story was an accurate reflection of AI and algorithms, she worked with NYU neuroscience professor Wei Ji Ma. Characters were brought to life by a number of well-known black actors and performers including Robin Quivers, Ava Raiin, and Hoji Fortuna. You can find out more at the Afro Algorithm’s website here.
Mozilla’s Creative Media Awards are part of our mission to realize more trustworthy AI. The awards fuel the people and projects on the front lines of the internet health movement — from activists to documentary filmmakers to researchers.
The latest cohort of Awardees are all Black artists who spotlight how AI can reinforce — or disrupt — systems of oppression. The AI systems in our everyday lives can perpetuate and amplify biases that have long existed offline: Recommendation algorithms promote racist messages. Facial recognition systems misidentify Black faces. And voice assistants like Alexa and Siri struggle to understand Black voices as highlighted by Johann Diedrick in his Dark Matters Project. As the AI in consumer technology grows more sophisticated and prevalent, problems like these will grow even more complex.
Afro Algorithms will premiere at MozFest on Wednesday, March 9 at 2pm ET. The following day at 1pm ET, MozFest will feature a discussion with Araba, moderated by artists Stephanie Dinkins. More information is available here.