‘White Crisis’ and/as ‘Existential Threat’, or The Entangled Apocalypticism of Artificial Intelligence

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Dr Syed Mustafa Ali at the CenSAMM AI and Apocalypse Symposium 2018

Dr Syed Mustafa Ali, Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications at The Open University (UK), delivered the following paper at the Conference on Artificial Intelligence and The Apocalypse organised by CenSAMM (Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements), a new initiative of the Panacea Charitable Trust in Bedford, UK, which took place 5-6 April 2018:

‘White Crisis’ and/as ‘Existential Threat’, or The Entangled Apocalypticism of Artificial Intelligence

Interested viewers can watch the presentation which is available on YouTube:

Complete recordings of the two days proceedings (talks, panel discussions etc.) are available here.



BOOK: Sultan vs Dracula

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance

The following work by non-white (attempted) Muslim writer, artists and poet Razwan Ul-Haq arrived in the post this morning:

Sultan vs Dracula

The book, which is 400+ pages long, can be purchased direct from the author for £7.99 (+ postage and packing) from here. The author also has a blog on Islamic sci-fi.

Here’s an advert for this interesting Islamic Counter-Racist, decolonial and ‘post-Orientalist’ re-imagining of the Dracula story as appears on youTube:

Interested readers are invited to check out the following earlier blog post in connection with the above book:

The Vampire Culture of The Psychopathic Racial Personality


REFLECTION: Who is in Charge of The Future of The Internet?

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

I’m currently reading a paper entitled “Bottom of the Data Pyramid: Big Data and the Global South” (2016) by non-white / Indian female, Payal Arora, Associate Professor, Department of Media & Communication Faculty of History, Culture and Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam. The paper is available (in PDF format) here.

On her blog, The 3L Mantra to live by! A mashup of Labor, Leisure & Learning, Arora describes herself as follows:

Payal Arora - About Me.jpg

Suffice to say, I was not too impressed with this rather auto-Orientalising self-description, nor with the following TED presentation she delivered:

Interested and discerning Counter-Racist / decolonial viewers are invited to consider:

  1. how she frames the relation between the non-white / non-Western ‘periphery’ and the white / Western ‘core’ of the modern/colonial world system of global White Supremacy (Racism) in terms of ‘the poor’ and ‘the rich’, i.e. in race-less / de-raced / un-raced economistic terms.
  2. how she assimilates peripheral / Oriental behaviours to (tacitly universalised) core / Occidental behaviours by first talking about the history of ‘leisure’ in a (19th Century) European / Western class-based context, and then projecting categories (leisure and labour) from the core to the periphery on the post-colonial (sic) basis that “they are like us”. Who is this us that this non-white female is associating herself (and other non-white people) with / assimilating herself (and other non-white) to?

While it might appear that such a move is intended to overcome a legacy of colonial ‘othering’ which sees ‘them’ as essentially different to ‘us’, it is important to appreciate that this is being attempted by appealing to Eurocentric / West-centric norms. In short, her project is one of (neo)liberal inclusion within (covertly racialised yet overtly race-less) capitalist logics.

I would suggest that Arora’s discourse is postcolonial rather than decolonial, being economistically-framed in terms of inclusive capitalism. She completely fails to understand the intrinsically racialised nature of capitalist logics of accumulation, something that the late black Marxist scholar Cedric Robinson discussed in detail, as have critical race and decolonial scholars more recently.

Ultimately, while Arora’s critique of Big Data / datafication is useful, it is limited, and as to the question ‘Who is in Charge of The Future of The Internet?’, does that question really need to be asked?


VIDEO: “Think of Orientalism as a Lens”

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Check out the following video which explains in under 3 minutes how Orientalism functions as a ‘lens’ through which to construct stereotypes of the non-white / non-European ‘other’:


Orientalism and/as Information: The Indifference That Makes a Difference

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.


Dr Syed Mustafa Ali, a lecturer in the Computing and Communications Department of The Open University (UK), recently presented a talk entitled “Orientalism and/as Information: The Indifference That Makes a Difference” at The Difference that Makes a Difference (DTMD 2015) conference which formed part of the International Society for Information Studies (IS4IS) 2015 summit in Vienna, 3-7 June 2015. The theme of the conference was “information and values: ethics, spirituality and religion”.

Interested readers are invited to view the extended abstract and presentation slides.

Interested readers are also invited to check out blog posts featuring links to earlier related work by Ali:

Race: The Difference That Makes a Difference
Racism (White Supremacy) and The Philosophy of Information
Towards a Critical Race Theory of Information


Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #18

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.


Consider the following observation of Tunisian scholar Hichem Djait linking notions of development [=Devil-Ape-Ment] and Orientalism to ideas of racing – and hence, ‘race’ / ‘racialisation’ as race-ing / “running-in-a-racism”:

“Muslim resistance to Orientalism must maintain a sense of rationality and a sense of history. The Muslims must accept, however false it may be in absolute terms, that they are ‘backward’. But what does this ‘backwardness’ actually mean? ‘It means that one fine day the West broke away from the pack of its fellows, running ahead, exhausting both itself and them. But in this unsporting race, with its peculiar rules, the one who jumps out ahead stifles his adversary, and those who fall behind are crushed.’ The backwardness of Muslims ‘is the dark side of the breathless race run by the West, which has chosen the pace, the terrain, and the goal’. However, because this ‘backwardness’ really exists, it makes modernity all the more tempting and catching up with the West that much more necessary. But since this gap is impossible to bridge, it is even more important for Islam to preserve its other values: an identity, a culture, a civilization. In other words: Islam ‘should safeguard, cultivate, and refine its share, which is great, in the human enterprise’.” (pp.171-172)

Extract taken from Europe and Islam by Hichem Djait (CA: University of California Press, 1989).


BOOK: The New Orientalism (WS/R)

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

TNO Cover

Here is a brief description of the book:

The west’s Orientalism – its construction of the Arab ‘Other’ – has been exposed, examined and expurgated under the critical theory microscope in recent years yet the issue has acquired renewed urgency in light of the current climate of fear and hysteria about the Islamic world. At the same time, postmodern thinkers from Nietzsche onwards have employed the motifs and symbols of the Islamic Orient within an ongoing critique of western modernity, an appropriation which – this hugely controversial book argues – runs every risk of becoming a new and subtle form of Orientalism. Examining the work of Nietzsche, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Jean Baudrillard, Julia Kristeva and Slavoj Zizek and of postmodern writers from Borges to Salman Rushdie and Orhan Pamuk, Ian Almond also draws on Muslim thinkers including Akbar S. Ahmed and Bobby S. Sayyid in this timely project. The result is a provocative examination of the effects and implications of this ‘use’ of Islam for both the postmodern project and for Islam itself.

Interested readers can download a copy (PDF format) of the above work from here.