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This panel addresses the role of the people involved in and responsible for the development of AI and robotics, as well as their perception of the respective technology.
The idea of creating objects that autonomously imitate – or even surpass – human capabilities is not new. While for the past few millennia, these stories were the stuff of legends, the last few decades have seen technological advancements that have made some of these ideas materialise. The defeat of human world champions in highly mediatised ‘man vs. machine matches,’ such as the one in chess between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue in 1997, or the one in the Asian board game ‘Go’ between Lee Sedol and AlphaGo in 2016, are probably some of the more spectacular examples of this. Systems that include AI components have, however, also found their way into many peoples’ homes and daily routines, including for example product recommendation systems, automatic translation software, or robot vacuum-cleaners.
So far, most research on AI and robotics from a social science perspective has focussed on either fictional representations of the technology, or the users’ perspective on it. But what about the people behind these technologies? Who are they, and how do they perceive their work, the technologies they (help) develop, and the impact these technologies might have in larger society? What processes are at the basis of the development of AI and robotics, and what social and material contexts are at play? This panel invites contributions from a wide range of disciplines which address the people involved in and responsible for the development of AI and robotics, as well as their perspective on the technology.
Laura Stahl (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Claudia Lang (University of Leipzig)