The Researchers

Sulafa Hijazi

Born in Damascus, Syria, in 1977, Sulafa Hijazi is a Berlin-based director and interdisciplinary artist.

She studied at the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Syria, majoring in dramatic studies, and at the Städelschule Contemporary Fine Art Academy in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

With a background in theater, animation, conceptual art, and films, she has created a diverse range of work that intersects various media and digital technologies, including multimedia installations, augmented reality, digital illustrations, lenticular prints, and animated films, as well as participatory and edutainment projects.

هل أنا مهتمة بصورتي على فيسبوك أو أنستاغرام أكثر من صورتي في الحياة الواقعية؟

Am I more interested in my image on Facebook or Instagram than in my real-life image?

عادةً ما يكون لدي مشكلة مع الاستخدام الشامل لمصطلح “الذكاء الصناعي” كما لو كان كيانًا موحدًا. الذكاء الصناعي هو تقنية تُستخدم في تطبيقات وبرامج متنوعة. لتكوين موقف واضح من هذه التقنية، نحتاج إلى مناقشة تطبيقاتها المحددة، وليس استخدامها كمصطلح عام.

I generally have an issue with the blanket use of the term “artificial intelligence” as if it’s a uniform entity. AI is a technology used in various applications and programs. To form a clear stance on this technology, we need to discuss its specific applications, not its use as a general term.

أصبحت التكنولوجيا متسارعة جداً، ومن الصعب على النظام السياسي أو التعليمي مواكبة هذا التسارع.

The pace of technology has become exceedingly rapid, making it challenging for political and educational systems to keep up with this acceleration.

Dr. Milagros Miceli

I am a sociologist and computer scientist who investigates how ground-truth data for machine learning is produced. The focus of my research are labor conditions and power dynamics in data generation and labeling. Broadly, I am interested in questions of meaning-making, knowledge production, and symbolic power encoded in ML data. My work comprises ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, and participatory engagements with data annotators, collectors, and scientists at several sites around the world.
I lead the newly funded research group Data, Algorithmic Systems, and Ethics at Weizenbaum-Institut. I also work as a researcher at DAIR Institute where I am thinking through ways of engaging communities of data workers in AI research.
I am also a mom, an immigrant, and a first-generation academic. My pronouns are she/ella.

Artificial intelligence in the way we know it is labor. It is the work of humans.

When I use chat gpt, I don’t visualize people, but I see the labor behind it.

In the environmental context, asking Chat GPT a question equals throwing a bucket of water,

These machines are tools, they are not oracles or gods.

We need to learn how to operate them in order to learn how to dismantle them.

Because of subcontracting, many workers do not know who the ultimate client is. Many of the data workers do not know if they are working for Open AI or meta, or another company or a startup.

The system is designed for us not to have any rights, or to have the illusion that we have rights, but when the moment comes to claim our rights, it becomes impossible.

Alaa Rashidi

Writer , journalist and critic He has published collections of short stories The Last Game Before Imposing the Rules 2014 )), Fantasies of Amusement Between Magic and Fable ’’, 2017 and Imaginary Stories About Music and Thought 2023 He writes for several newspapers and websites in the field s of cultural journalism and literary and artistic criticism He published several research papers incl uding Types of Reception of Contemporary Syrian Theater 2021 , The Body in Syrian Fine Art 2022 , Syrian Puppet Theater 2011 2020.

الآلات هي وسائط قد تستعمل للخير وقد تستعمل للشر

Machines are tools that can be used for good or for harm

في خوف من العلوم في الأدب العربي، وفي الأدب العالمي بشكل عام، كما هو الحال مع رواية فرانكشتاين.

There is a fear of science in Arabic literature, as well as in world literature in general, as evidenced by works such as Frankenstein.

سؤال العلاقة مع التكنولوجيا هو سؤال مطروق، وقد لا يحمل أفكاراً جديدة، ولكن ما هو الجديد هو وجود أجيال جديدة تتعامل مع هذا السؤال.

The question of the relationship with technology is a familiar one, and it may not carry new ideas. However, what is new is the presence of new generations engaging with this question.

 مع أي وسيط يبتكره البشر سيكون هناك ناس يستخدمونه ضد ناس. ولكن يتم الترويج إلى أن الآلات هي من ستتمرد على البشر.

With any medium humans innovate, there will be people using it against others. However, there is an assumption suggesting that machines will rebel against humans.

Dr. Maxin Room

Dr Maxine Room CBE MEd BEd (Hons) Cert Ed

A highly experienced, well respected and motivated education strategic leader and consultant. Previously a CEO /Principal in several FE colleges across the UK. Recognised with a CBE in 2012 for work on equality, diversity and leadership in education. Enterprising and entrepreneurial with national and international recognition. Committed to improving the quality and sustainability of organisations through use of new technologies, business development, effective strategy  and leadership success. A track record of organisational improvement through use of quality success indicators, effective change management and digital transformation.

A commitment to equality, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism through coaching and mentoring.  Works tirelessly to bring about effective and efficient engagement in culture change and quality improvement. A sound work ethic with values that transcend differences in cultures and communities to positive effect.

She chairs an Independent Training Provider Board, Strive Training and is a non-exec on several creative and performing arts boards including Greenwich and Docklands International Festival.

She is an Associate Director for the Black Leadership Group. She founded two consultancies MG Consultancy London Ltd and Medacrii Associates Ltd both committed to education and educating through inclusive diversity and approaches to coaching and mentoring.

She is marrying this work with recent interests including online learning platforms, developments in blockchain, digital ledger technology, and later Metaverse as a service with . She has published several articles on DEI and technology and is presently engaged in a collaboration writing about the disparity and lack of equality for women in tech.

There is a lot of AI that we don’t realize it is there. 

It is important that people should use AI and Chat GPT with the sense that they are not the bible.

Back in the time when I was doing my academic work, I was my own AI . 

AI is making choices for you in various ways. And it can be scary. 

Through the AI, they discriminate against certain information in order to feed other information. 

AI can be useful in the process of decolonizing education. It is the question of how we use it. 

We used to talk about ‘we are teaching the children’. But now the children are learning. 

Racism is so nuanced,  

Dr. Ali Souleman

PhD the University of Oxford, 2005.

Dr. Ali Souleman is a professor of Theatre Studies, writer and literary translator. He worked as a Professor of Theatre Studies in the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus 2005-2014.

He was a CARA Fellow and a visiting researcher in the University of Oxford 2014-2016, where he took a postdoctoral post in St. John’s College.

He is currently an independent researcher and Associate Faculty Member in The Oriental Institute of the University of Oxford.

His research Interests include: Intercultural Theatre and Arabic Theatre and Literature.

His publications include: 

a book entitled: Zil al-Wardah: Masrah George Schehadé ( The Shadow of the Flower: the Theatre of George Schehadé), 1998.

3 translated books, articles and essays on Modern Arabic Drama, in addition to regular contribution and critical reviews to the Arab press since 1995.

السؤال عن ماذا بقي من سوريا هو سؤال عن ذاكرة، وهو مخيف نوع ما. هل مازال المكان والفضاء موجودين في الواقع؟ والمأساة هي إنني أعرف الجواب، ولكنهما موجودين في الذاكرة. 

The question about what remains of Syria is a question about memory, and it’s somewhat frightening. Is the place and space still physically there, and the tragedy is that I know the answer, but it exists in memory. 

أنا متصالح، ومنذ زمن، مع فكرة تعددية الهوية ومع فكرة عدم وجود هوية واحدة صافية واضحة. الهوية هي عبارة ع مكونات متعددة وغير ثابتة. ومن تجربتي الشخصية أجد أن الهوية الصافية هي خرافة، أو موضوع متعلق بالإيديولوجية، أو هي ردة فعال تجاه أزمات وانهيارات.

I am reconciled, and have been for a while, with the concept of the multiplicity of identity, and with the idea that there is no singular, clear identity. Identity is composed of multiple and fluid components. From my personal experience, I find that a pure identity is a myth, or it is tied to ideology, or it is a reactive response to crises and collase. 

هناك إعادة صناعة الأوهام على وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي. 

There is a sort of reconstruction of illusions on social media.

أي بنية تعليمية مغلقة ستؤدي إلى انفجار حتماً. 

Any closed educational structure will inevitably lead to an explosion.

أشعر بتناقض هائل. لا أستطيع الابتعاد عن وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي رغم علمي بأنها توجه اهتماماتي وانفعالاتي. أشعر وكأنني تورطت. 

I feel a tremendous contradiction. I can’t stay away from social media despite knowing that it directs my interests and emotions. I feel as if I’m entangled.

ليست العنصرية بأمر طارئ على البشرية، ولكن هناك وسائل جديدة لتطبيق هذه العنصرية. 

Racism is not a new trait of humanity, but there are new means to implement it.


Konstantin Youdenko

Konstantin Youdenko brings a wealth of experience from his 25-year journey in software development and UX/UI design. His approach blends technological innovation with practicality, particularly in the realms of web technologies and artificial intelligence. As a seasoned IT professional, Konstantin’s career is defined by a steady progression through various aspects of technology, marked by a keen understanding of its application in the real world.

In his career, Konstantin has collaborated with large companies like Philips, ASML, BCC and GÉANT. His recent role in advising companies on AI adoption highlights his capacity to understand and implement the latest cutting edge technology. He is a serial entrepreneur with a diverse portfolio, ranging from a web agency in The Netherlands, sport school and juice cafe in Indonesia, music club in Spain. Four years ago, Konstantin co-founded the innovative cashless tipping platform “Take it Personally” as its CTO. This platform has since experienced rapid growth, both in the Netherlands and on an international scale.

If I try to imagine and visualize the person on the other end of Chat GPT, the person would not be able to do the number of things I ask for with all the data or some complicated combination of interdisciplinary questions, which people do not normally process.

There is no job for me if you take off my computer.

With less people around, and just like the movie Her, AI can be a lover, or even a better lover than you ever exposed to in your life. If we prompted it correctly, AI is capable of faking relationships. It can play a good psychologist, a good parent, a listening partner.

Whether it is AI, or a nuclear bomb, or any other powerful technology that is able to reshape the world, it still needs humans to come to a table and discuss, but has it ever been successful, globally?

If we try to prepare ourselves for an unpredictable event (a black swan event) there will be another event that will come, and we are not prepared for.

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