AI Empire: Unraveling the interlocking systems of oppression in generative AI's global order

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to captivate the collective imagination through the latest generation of generative AI models such as DALL-E and ChatGPT, the dehumanizing and harmful features of the technology industry that have plagued it since its inception only seem to deepen and intensify. Far from a “glitch” or unintentional error, these endemic issues are a function of the interlocking systems of oppression upon which AI is built. Using the analytical framework of “Empire,” this paper demonstrates that we live not simply in the “age of AI” but in the age of AI Empire. Specifically, we show that this networked and distributed global order is rooted in heteropatriarchy, racial capitalism, white supremacy, and coloniality and perpetuates its influence through the mechanisms of extractivism, automation, essentialism, surveillance, and containment. Therefore, we argue that any attempt at reforming AI from within the same interlocking oppressive systems that created it is doomed to failure and, moreover, risks exacerbating existing harm. Instead, to advance justice, we must radically transform not just the technology itself, but our ideas about it, and develop it from the bottom up, from the perspectives of those who stand the most risk of being harmed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBig Data and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023


  • AI Empire
  • algorithmic oppression
  • and data colonialism
  • critical AI
  • generative AI
  • intersectionality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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