IC23 – Considering the human in developing AI systems in an anti-Black environment

Lecturer: Christopher L. Dancy
Fields: Artificial Intelligence, Black Studies, Cognitive Science


How can we develop AI systems that are more don’t enact and enable existing anti-Blackness? What does it mean to consider anti-Blackness within the context of the design, development, and deployment of AI systems? I will approach these questions from cognitive science and black studies perspective. We will consider and discuss how the continual enacting of the “Man” “genre of the human” (see Wynter, 2003, 2015) fuels anti-Blackness in our AI systems and use a hybrid cognitive architecture as a vehicle for thinking about the design and interaction with those systems.


  • Dancy, C. L. (2019). A hybrid cognitive architecture with primal affect and physiology. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing. doi:10.1109/TAFFC.2019.2906162
  • Wynter, S. (2003). Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, After Man, Its Overrepresentation – An Argument. CR: The New Centennial Review, 3(3), 257-337.
  • Wynter, S., & McKittrick, K. (2015). Unparalleled Catastrophe for Our Species? Or, to Give Humanness a Different Future: Conversations. In K. McKittrick (Ed.), Sylvia Wynter: On being human as praxis (pp. 9-89). Durham, NC, USA: Duke University Press.
  • Cave, S. (2020). The Problem with Intelligence: Its Value-Laden History and the Future of AI. In proceedings of the Proceedings of the AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society, New York, NY, USA, 29–35.


Christopher L. Dancy
Dr. Christopher L Dancy

Dr. Christopher L. Dancy is currently an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Bucknell University. He received a Ph.D. in Information Sciences and Technology (with a focus on Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence) from Penn State, University Park, as well as a B.S. in Computer Science from Penn State, University Park. He has research and teaching interests in AI and Cognitive science, and related interests in computational physiology, affective neuroscience, and emotion theory. Dr. Dancy also has research interests in AI & Society, particularly as it relates to anti-Blackness. He uses these perspectives for thinking about and creating computational agents in software, using these agents for behavior simulation, theory exploration, HCI, and systems engineering purposes, as well as to study agents and AI systems in the context of existing social structures.

Affiliation: Department of Computer Science, Bucknell University
Homepage: https://eg.bucknell.edu/~cld028/