I am currently a research professor at the college of the arts at University Florida, and my current research is at the intersection of Dance and AI, it is titled Atunda, a research in AI technology for analysing and annotating Afrogenic dance moves across cultures, whose ultimate purpose is to build a dance data bank for deep learning, and to task the intelligence generated from the data to help protect IP for future dance makers.
This is an interdisciplinary collaboration with researchers, data scientists, software engineers, and various dance communities, contributing significantly to various components of the project. We are deliberately thinking through the very notion of wealth redistribution, and asking very poignant questions on the possibility of wealth pre-distribution, using AI-driven movement recognition and classification methods. This project just received a major funding which I will be announcing soon, this opens up new economic opportunities for dancers who will now begin to earn income by participating in this dance and AI project.
What if there is an internet of things, based on a truly shared economy, which uses AI to analyze dance moves, and blockchain to keep time stamped records, and get the assets dancers create back under their own control?
What if there is a data union of dancers globally, collectively ensuring that every dance creator in the metaverse is properly remunerated for their labor, their data and creative output?
The Oraqu is a mobile app that is based on the mechanics and architecture of Ifa divination system of Yoruba people; invented by the Yoruba father of philosophy - Orunmila - thousands of years ago, as a standardized binary-based protocol adapted for organizing, processing, and retrieving the vast information within a dynamic oral knowledge database. Ifá is both an encyclopedia and a divination technique that relies on the analysis of a byte of binary patterns that are interpreted by a diviner (Ifá priest or Babalawo). It consists of 16 major Odus (pot), each of which are 16 chapters deep, making it 16 X 16 = 256 Odus (Oyebisi. 2019), and each Odu has an unknowable number of verses (Ẹsẹ Ifá). The 256 Odus are each mapped to specific divination patterns on a divining chain. Babalawos memorize the innumerable verses connected to each of these 256 specific divination patterns/signatures and interpret them for the querent.
The Ifá divination system uses a divining chain with 8 nuts, each with an “on/off” position. When twirled and thrown to the ground, the chain forms a specific signature of on and off codes that are mapped to each of the 256 Odus. This method of storing and archiving data using 0/1s or on/off is the exact same system that our modern-day computers use. Similar to the Ifá Divination system, the binary counting system is used by computers to control states and store large data. The current Oraqu app attempts to simulate the experience of Ifá. Similar to Ifá divination, it hosts a series of 256 Odus that are played to users as they access the app either through a playlist or divination mode. These sounds are stored in the app and are mapped to a specific divination “signature” as an intuitive repository of oral wisdom, a curated archive that consists of philosophical thinkings, scientific fictions, and spirituality; various cosmologies and mythologies, speeches from diverse historical figures and accounts of past events; poetry, music, and soundscapes. It is a fine collection of thoughts that collectively offer a doorway for insight into epistemes of the visible and invisible worlds.