IJCAI 2023
Conference paper

Balancing Social Impact, Opportunities, and Ethical Constraints of Using AI in the Documentation and Vitalization of Indigenous Languages

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In this paper we discuss how AI can contribute to support the documentation and vitalization of Indigenous languages and how that involves a delicate balancing of ensuring social impact, exploring technical opportunities, and dealing with ethical constraints. We start by surveying previous work on using AI and NLP to support critical activities of strengthening of Indigenous and endangered languages, and discuss key limitations of current technologies. After presenting basic ethical constraints of working with Indigenous languages and communities, we propose that creating and deploying language technology ethically with and for Indigenous communities forces AI researchers and engineers to address some of the main shortcomings and criticisms of current technologies. Those ideas are explored further in the discussion of a real case of development of a language foundation model for Brazilian Indigenous languages.