Making Arguments with Data: Resisting Appropriation and Assumption of Access/Reason in Machine Learning Training Processes
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This article presents an approach to practicing ethics when working with large datasets and designing data representations. Inspired by feminist critique of technoscience and recent problematizations of digital literacy, we argue that machine learning models can be navigated in a multi-narrative manner when access to training data is well articulated and understood. We programmed and used web-based interfaces to sort, organize, and explore a community-run digital archive of radio signals. An additional perspective on the question of working with datasets is offered from the experience of teaching image synthesis with freely accessible online tools. We hold that the main challenge to social transformations related to digital technologies comes from lingering forms of colonialism and extractive relationships that easily move in and out of the digital domain. To counter both the unfounded narratives of techno-optimismand the universalizing critique of technology, we discuss an approachto data and networks that enables a situated critique of datafication and correlationism from within.