Algorithms and AI are shaping the way we receive, process and share knowledge about the world. What does this mean for the production and dissemination of knowledge about Islam and Muslims? How can we negotiate baseline standards and ethics with technology companies? Cultural critic Ziauddin Sardar, Labour Councillor Reema Patel and cultural historian Dr Sarah Bowen Savant.
Reema is programme manager at the Nuffield Foundation, working to set up the Ada Lovelace Institute which is focusing on the social and ethical implications of the use of data, algorithms and AI.
Dr Sarah Bowen Savant
Dr Savant is a cultural historian specialising in the Middle East and Iran ca. 600-1300, and Associate Professor at Aga Khan University, Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations. She is the author of The New Muslims of Post-Conquest Iran: Tradition, Memory, and Conversion, and articles treating ethnicity, memory, and Muslim identities. Since 2014, she has led the Arabic Digital Humanities Project, “Knowledge, Information Technology, and the Arabic Book (KITAB),” which is using algorithms to study the development of the written tradition and networks through which texts passed. As part of this project, she has worked with partners to develop Optical Character Recognition for Middle Eastern languages.
Ziauddin is the Director of The Centre for Postnormal Policy and Futures Studies. He is a writer, broadcaster and cultural critic and Professor of Law and Society at Middlesex University, London. He works across a number of disciplines ranging from Islamic studies and futures studies to science policy, literary criticism, information science to cultural relations, art criticism and critical theory. He was born in Pakistan in 1951 and grew up in Hackney, East London.
Zahed is Head of Networks and Outreach at ISD. He heads ISD’s civil society engagement on counternarrative projects, bringing the private sector together with activists, frontline workers, and relevant civil society networks to counter extremist propaganda and recruitment. Zahed is currently working on research and capacity building for counternarrative messaging campaigns for NGOs in Kenya, Europe, and the Middle East. He recently co-authored The Impact of Counternarratives, a groundbreaking cross-platform study demonstrating counternarrative messaging impact. His writings and analysis have been featured at the BBC (BBC Breakfast, The Culture Show, Radio 4, Radio Five Live, World Service, Asian Network), NPR, Channel 4, Sky News, the Guardian, CNN International, The National, The Daily Star, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Newsweek, among others.