Rather than being abstract and immaterial, the supply chain and infrastructure sustaining AI are already causing concrete environmental harm in various regions worldwide. Within this context, this presentation highlights two instances of activism against technology-driven ecological damage in Chile: a Google data centre project and lithium extraction in Indigenous lands. These two cases involve using vast amounts of water in areas already grappling with drought. Echoing recent debates, this presentation raises the question of whose lives count in discussions regarding the potential for extinction posed by AI. A ‘humane AI’, it is argued, should actively embrace, rather than disrupt, the flourishing of diverse forms of relating to the environment.
Sebastián Lehuedé is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Centre of Governance and Human Rights at the University of Cambridge. Applying decolonial theory, his research examines the governance of digital technologies from a global social justice perspective. His current project explores emerging forms of resistance against the environmental impact of Artificial Intelligence in Latin America. Sebastián is also a Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University and a member of the Tierra Común network of researchers and activists.