AI and Black Wall Street: Establishing A Blueprint for Black Leadership in Artificial Intelligence
Tyrance Billingsley II, Founder of Black Tech Street
August 2, 2023

Black Tech Street is honored to be a key partner in the Generative Red Team (GRT) Challenge, the largest-ever artificial intelligence testing and training exercise by an order of magnitude. And, we are bringing along nearly one hundred members of the Black Wall Street community to DEFCON 31 to participate.

Artificial Intelligence may be the most transformative technology humanity has ever created, and the greatest opportunity for the transference of power (and wealth) back to individuals, especially Black people and others currently left out. This opportunity—perhaps the first and last true chance we have—will only be possible if AI is developed with full participation from our community. Only we can ensure the technology serves rather than harms us, and discover the opportunities to build AI that enable our ambitions. Only then can we exponentially accelerate the closing of inequity gaps rather than expanding them.

Tulsa is home to one of the greatest stories of minority triumph and tragedy; first in the birth and flowering of Black Wall Street, and then in its horrible destruction in the Tulsa Race Massacre. Our Tulsa community, knowing the deep wells of success and strife, is unique in its potential contribution to foundational equality in artificial intelligence. The Black Wall Street Community is made up of a diverse group of entrepreneurs, artists, community leaders, community organizers, and many others, all anchored in the lessons, history, and inspiration of Black Wall Street.

Tragedies and hard-won triumphs produce unique individuals with unique talents, gifts, and perspectives. It is the perspectives of people from communities with both sacred and heinous histories, such as Black Wall Street, that will enable AI that reflects nuance and racial complexities. Only then can we generate solutions commensurate with the multifaceted enigmas surrounding equity and the treatment of minorities. Without it, we can only expect further deterioration of our social fabric.

By bringing together such a large group of community members with unique perspectives from their experiences while sharing the core complexities of Black Wall Street, the Black Tech Street delegation will provide invaluable insights into the artifacts of society that can make AI dangerous for Black people. We’ll also unearth ways in which our folks may uniquely benefit and build revolutionary technologies on our own terms.

Black Tech Street seeks to expose the Black Wall Street community to the unrivaled socio-economic potential of artificial intelligence. With the advent of transformative AI, our world stands on the precipice of a paradigm shift that will arrive with a speed and fury previously unknown. Generative and narrow AI proliferation will affect everything from the way we live and make a living, to how we interact with society itself.

With AI’s inevitable expansion into every aspect of business and society, right now is the moment of opportunity. If we act with ambition and purpose, Black Tulsans will be on the ground floor of an unprecedented expansion of our ability to build wealth and affect social change. Black Tulsans can be the harbingers of the AI-first generation, lifting Black people across the country and world up through the simple act of making sure we have tools for understanding, support structures, and space to build and own.

Black Tech Street envisions Black Wall Street reborn as a technology hub, but that is the beginning of the necessary work. We must start by working with our Tulsan neighbors, then move to support our national network, and finally establish Black Tech Street and our coalition as global leaders on equitable and accessible AI innovation and research.

We believe that only through such access to participation, community support, and global leadership in AI and other emerging technologies can we excise the heinous social forces that destroyed Black Wall Street and still power the reinvigoration of racism today. We strive towards establishing a new bedrock for AI technologies so that when they bring tectonic changes, we not only prevent the technological manifestation of anti-Blackness, but also build the launching pad to a future formed by our experience and the brilliance of our community.

We are on a mission to ensure that Black Wall Street is the same force for equity and economic empowerment in the 21st century as it was in the last. 100 years ago, that looked like building a self-sufficient business community that was a haven for Black wealth. 100 years later, Black Tech Street is leading the charge for artificial intelligence to both be designed equitably and harnessed as a tool to achieve economic prosperity beyond even our ancestors' imagination.

We can realize the essence of Black Wall Street in its ultimate form: a world where we have space to create freely, unbridled power to build a future for generations to come, and a coalition fighting for a society that celebrates our existence—not in one town, state, or nation, but the world over.