Welcome to another episode of the “22 Lessons on Ethics and Technology” series!
In this episode, I sit down with Jason Edward Lewis to talk about how Indigenous peoples are imagining the futures while drawing upon their heritage. How can we broaden the discussions regarding technology and society to include Indigenous perspectives? How can we design and create AI that centers Indigenous concerns and accommodates a multiplicity of thought? And how can art-led technology research and the use of computational art in imagining the future?
Jason Edward Lewis is a digital media theorist, poet, and software designer. He founded Obx Laboratory for Experimental Media, where he conducts research/creation projects exploring computation as a creative and cultural material. Lewis is deeply committed to developing intriguing new forms of expression by working on conceptual, critical, creative and technical levels simultaneously. He is the University Research Chair in Computational Media and the Indigenous Future Imaginary as well Professor of Computation Arts at Concordia University. Lewis was born and raised in northern California, and currently lives in Montreal.
Lewis directs the Initiative for Indigenous Futures, and co-directs the Indigenous Futures Research Centre, the Indigenous Protocol and AI Workshops, the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace research network, and the Skins Workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Video Game Design.
Lewis’ creative and production work has been featured at Ars Electronica, Mobilefest, Elektra, Urban Screens, ISEA, SIGGRAPH, FILE and the Hawaiian International Film Festival, among other venues, and has been recognized with the inaugural Robert Coover Award for Best Work of Electronic Literature, two Prix Ars Electronica Honorable Mentions, several imagineNATIVE Best New Media awards and multiple solo exhibitions. His research interests include emergent media theory and history, and methodologies for conducting art-led technology research. In addition to being lead author on the award-winning “Making Kin with the Machines” essay and editor of the groundbreaking Indigenous Protocol and Artificial Intelligence Position Paper, he has contributed to chapters in collected editions covering Indigenous futures, mobile media, video game design, machinima and experimental pedagogy with Indigenous communities.
Lewis has worked in a range of industrial research settings, including Interval Research, US West’s Advanced Technology Group, and the Institute for Research on Learning, and, at the turn of the century, he founded and ran a research studio for the venture capital firm Arts Alliance.
Lewis is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada as well as a former Trudeau, Carnegie, and ISO-MIT Co-Creation Lab Fellow. He received a B.S. in Symbolic Systems (Cognitive Science) and B.A. in German Studies (Philosophy) from Stanford University, and an M.Phil. in Design from the Royal College of Art.