Interview with Prof. Ron Eglash: African Fractals, Indigenous Knowledge, Modern Computing, AI, Generative Justice

‘It is not far-fetched to see a historical path for base 2 calculations that begins with African divination, runs through the geomancy of European alchemists and is finally translated into binary calculation, where it is now applied into every digital circuit from alarm clocks to super computers’

Prof. Ron Eglash

African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design (1999)

Ron Eglash
Professor Ron Eglash

I am so excited to let you know about the first in a series of podcasts focusing on interdisciplinary Science and Technology that I am doing for A Correction, as a new co-host. In this first podcast, I interview Professor Ron Eglash on African Fractals and the African origins of modern computing, the importance of education that is multicultural and goes beyond disciplinary boundaries, moving from an economy based on extraction to one based on generative principles, indigenous informed Artificial Intelligence and understanding consciousness through African influenced music and other fascinating areas of research.

For those of you who have been following my writing, his book African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design influenced one of my poems/prose: Simulation: Welcome to our World. It was great to be able to speak to him about his very important, informative, exciting, and groundbreaking research. You can listen to the podcast on the A Correction website or on Apple Podcasts: Ron Eglash on African Fractals and Generative Justice. It’s also available on Spotify and all the usual podcast platforms.

Professor Ron Eglash’s groundbreaking research on African Fractals revealed the African roots of modern computing, which was otherwise largely hidden. His TED Talk on the subject has had more than 1.7 million views and has inspired innovations in architecture, arts, literature, and education. He created a new discipline called ethnocomputing and today supports a suite of online simulations called Culturally Situated Design Tools, which have been used in American schools and internationally to allow students to learn math and computing through what he calls “heritage algorithms”. His most recent work on “Generative Justice,” develops an alternative economic theory based on indigenous principles. His educational background includes a BS in cybernetics, MS in Systems Engineering, and a Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness. He is currently a Professor with appointments in both the School of Information and in the School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan.

Image courtesy Luanne Cadd