Our current book for the Neo-Luddite Reading Group is Race After Technology (2019) by Ruha Benjamin. We’ll meet Tuesday, January 16th at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the introduction through chapter 2.
The issues and harms surrounding emergin technologies are especially concerning given the lack of regulation in the tech industry generally, and the tendency of productivity-increasing technology to further concentrate power in the hands of the few. This reading group will explore these risks and engage with how they work in the hopes of better organizing to protect the rights of workers and individuals. The goal is to have a better understanding of the costs (data, carbon, human labor) and risks (misinformation, unpredictability, bias) of making these machines, as well as limitations in what they can learn about the world primarily through text.
We’re currently reading Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin and will decide what to read next at our first session of the year.
So far, we’ve read “Resisting AI: An Anti-fascist Approach to Artificial Intelligence” by Dan McQuillian and The Human Use of Human Beings by Norbert Wiener. The following archived pages include more Information on those sessions: Resist AI and The Human Use of Human Beings. If you’d like to learn more about me, you can visit victorgom.es for a bio.
If you’re joining for the first time, I’d suggest you read this before anything else for some historical context: What the Luddites Really Fought Against by Richard Conniff.
The only expectation is that you read the chapter(s) of the book that’s listed for that meeting. You’re still welcome to participate if you haven’t done the readings as long as you are mindful.
The author kindly provides a free reading guide on her website, so I’d reccomend checking it out for the relevant chapters prior to each meeting to get you thinking. For each chapter, I’ve also noted some optional readings for context, so I’d suggest checking those out rather than reading ahead in the book. And remember, if you ever find yourself struggling with any of the readings or concepts, reach out! Either directly to me over email or to the entire group over discord.