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(Re)Making AI through STS 
Francesco Miele (University of Trieste)
Stefania Milan (University of Amsterdam)
Simone Arnaldi (University of Trieste)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

How can STS contribute to (re)make the transformations brought about by the advance of AI in society? We welcome empirical, theoretical and methodological contributions helpful for providing non-deterministic, anti-heroic and ‘flat’ narratives about AI and ongoing societal changes.

Long Abstract:

The recent renaissance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its growing relevance in public debate have fueled never died hopes and fears about the disruptive role of innovative machines in our societies. Whether social scientists have often partaken in the deconstruction of seductive myths concerning AI and its miraculous role in tackling pivotal issues of modern societies, this open panel aims to examine how STS can contribute to govern the transformations emerging around AI technologies. First, we encourage STS researchers to explore the advance of AI in high-stake areas - including education, employment, credit scoring, entertainment, environment preservation, cultural consumption and healthcare – providing accounts that move away from the dystopian and utopian narratives very common in popular science as well as in certain academia. Where enthusiastic and critical positions about AI have been often sustained by technological or social determinism, in contrast we welcome theoretical and empirical contributions that adopt a ‘flat’ ontology that put all forms agency on a par, without taking for granted that power asymmetries and transformative capabilities belong to specific human and non-human actors. Second, we invite scholars to reflect on the methodological ability of STS to give voice to the voiceless, supporting the theoretical and empirical efforts of proposing anti-heroic and non-deterministic narratives about AI. We believe that this can happen developing methods and techniques that, one the one hand, explore the power of acting of actors generally excluded by the grand narratives about AI and, on the other hand, involve these actors in the enactment and the evaluation of AI technologies. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

• Deconstruction of seductive myths

• Appropriation/resistance practices from below

• AI and vulnerable populations

• Non-human world(s)

• Failures/pitfalls of AI

• Power asymmetries and re-negotiations

• Digital/computational methods

• Post-qualitative and Participatory research

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4