Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.

Accepted Paper:

A call for democratic experimentation with AI  
Torben Elgaard Jensen (Aalborg University Copenhagen) Helene Ratner (Aarhus University)

Short abstract:

The paper examines four cases of AI experimentation that takes place beyond the control and orchestration of tech companies. It argues that ‘experimentation in the wild’ by a broad variety of actors should merit our attention and engagement as a form of democratization of innovation.

Long abstract:

Following a recent commentary by Lucy Suchman (2023), we suggest that much of the current discussion about AI has been obfuscated by the assumption that AI is a ‘thing’ that is already there. Working against this ‘misplaced concreteness’, the paper contributes to the demystification of AI by examining four cases of actors - beyond the tech companies – who are engaged in making and shaping of AI through experimentation with the construction, legitimate organization, cultural meaning, and practical use of computational techniques and technologies.

We introduce the term ‘experimentation in the wild’ to denote the broad variety of experimentation that unfolds beyond, alongside, or in conflict with tech companies’ strategic attempts to draw users into circumscribed roles as experimental subjects or beta-testers for the companies’ platforms and tools.

We argue that experimentation in the wild is key to understanding what AI is in practice and how it unfolds. We also argue that experimentation in the wild is a desirable feature of AI development, since it multiplies the perspectives on AI and the stakes in it. Experimentation in the wild is thus a form of democratization, in the Deweyan sense of democracy as an ongoing collective process of inquiry and contestation (Dewey 1927).

In the final part of the paper, we propose a list of ideals for democratically legitimate experimentation with AI. We stress the importance of addressing real-world tensions and controversies, ensuring stakeholder participation and enfranchisement, and fostering pluralism in the scope of experimentation.

Traditional Open Panel P231
STS, AI Experiments, and the social good
  Session 1