'Thinking problematically' as a resource for AI design in politicised contexts

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningfagfællebedømt


When designing artificial intelligence (AI) in politicised contexts, such as the public sector, optimistic promises of what AI can achieve often shape decisions around which problems AI should address. Different epistemological views carry different understandings of what is considered the problem at hand, and, as we show in this paper, ethnographic perspectives often fail to match the politicised promises of AI. This paper reflects on personal experiences from an interdisciplinary research project that aimed to take a responsible approach to research and design AI for public services in Denmark. Seeking alternatives to the inflexible algorithms [3, 38] often used to automate or augment specific decision-making tasks in these contexts [1, 2, 35], our research project took a flexible approach to research and design and included ethnographic workplace studies to explore whether AI could both leverage the increasing powers of computing and retain the discretion of the user [23]. Following Mesman [33], we present three empirical moments that were particularly challenging for us as ethnographic researchers and influenced our project in important ways regarding the problems for AI to solve. Problematising [6] them, enabled us to surface how 'readiness', emerging from the politicised context of AI in Denmark, had confounded our efforts at interdisciplinary collaboration. Problematisation, then, allowed us to come to a new understanding of the problem at hand and open up a space to collaboratively re-imagine the problems for AI to solve. This paper is in the spirit of serving as a bridge between our initial and revised understanding, pointing to the ongoing discussion in HCI about 'bridging the gap' between ethnography and design. Our contribution is a discussion of how researchers and designers might engage with problematisation at the frontiers of HCI to develop an open-ended approach to collaborative AI design in politicised contexts.

TitelCHItaly 2021 - Frontiers of HCI : Proceedings of the 14th Biannual Conference of the Italian SIGCHI Chapter
Antal sider13
ForlagAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Elektronisk)9781450389778
StatusUdgivet - 2021
Begivenhed14th Biannual Conference of the Italian SIGCHI Chapter: Frontiers of HCI, CHItaly 2021 - Virtual, Online, Italien
Varighed: 11 jul. 202113 jul. 2021


Konference14th Biannual Conference of the Italian SIGCHI Chapter: Frontiers of HCI, CHItaly 2021
ByVirtual, Online
NavnACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
We want to thank all our collaborators in the EcoKnow project and the municipalities and participants who took part in our research, including Mace, Simon, Kahloua, Nicklas, Heidi and Sofie. Last but not least, we want to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful inputs in revising the final manuscript. This work has been supported by a grant from the Innovation Fund Denmark (7050-00034A).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.

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