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STS, AI Experiments, and the social good 
Mathieu Jacomy (Aalborg University)
Ida Schrøder (Aarhus University)
Alf Rehn (SDU University of Southern Denmark)
Torben Elgaard Jensen (Aalborg University Copenhagen)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel invites submissions that inquire into the effects of AI experiments in democratic societies, as well as “making and doing” experiments with AI in STS. The key aim is to investigate the potential of employing AI for good in an STS context, whilst connected to an experimentalist ethos.

Long Abstract:

Much “algorithmic drama” has surrounded the release of AI tools in the wild. Some fear that AI will undermine or drastically challenge ordinary life in democratic societies; with warning examples including automated social security allocation, predictive policing, and biased tax fraud detection. On the other hand, the positive potential of AI has been noted, with examples including hate speech detection, better spam filters, and auto-generated accessibility tools all considered “good” uses of AI. Beyond both the fear and the hype, AI systems are developed, deployed, and repaired in everyday practices – like other infrastructures, AI is at heart "boring", relying on ordinary acts of tinkering and maintenance.

As AI has arrived in the everyday life of democratic societies, this is a timely moment to consider AI systems as experiments in democratic practice, looking to how we re-negotiate citizen's relationship with the state, accessibility to public debates, conviviality, and everyday practices.

However, STS has proven valuable not only as a commentator of such developments, but in actively “making and doing”; critiquing not from a distance, but while “getting our hands dirty”. Therefore, this panel also invites contributions that showcase practices and experiments of how STS can contribute to developing AI for social good.

Submissions may respond to the following questions:

– How can we understand AI systems/tools as experiments "in the wild" of democratic society?

– How can STS “making and doing” be understood in the era of AI, and how can it contribute to “good” AI?

– Which actors must be involved in the experiments and development of AI "for the social good"?

– What are the (experimental) interrelationships between the algorithmic logic of AI and the logic(s) of social good?

– How can we understand the experimentalist ethos of work with AI?

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2