Shaping 21st Century AI – Controversies and Closure in Media, Policy, and Research
“Artificial Intelligence” (AI) is currently in its formative stage. Politicians, experts and start-up founders tell us that AI will change how we live, communicate, work and travel tomorrow. Autonomous vehicles, the detection of illnesses, automated filtering of misinformation and hate speech – AI is seemingly set out to fix fundamental problems of our societies. At the same time, substantive concerns are raised that these developments might reinforce social and economic inequality, exacerbate the opacity of decision-making processes, and ultimately question human autonomy. Moreover, the direction of the scientific field itself is up for dispute, with leading practitioners of machine learning publicly disagreeing about the long-term importance of different approaches to designing and training these artificial agents.
This conjunction of dynamic technological developments, fundamental controversies and massive investments sets the scene for the project Shaping AI. This multinational collaboration of partners in Germany, France, UK and Canada offers a comparative, longitudinal inquiry into how AI as a sociotechnical phenomenon is being integrated into our societies.
The project employs diverse sets of methods, including historical, ethnographic, and computational methods and the Media Lab’s cartographie de controverses, to investigate the discourse and developments around AI’s “deep learning revolution” over the ten formative years from 2012 to 2021 in the four partner countries and across three key domains. The media analysis investigates AI debates in major news outlets, niche websites and social media conversation. The policy analysis maps and analyze the existing policy initiatives, whitepapers and regulations in each country. The research analysis maps publication archives and scientific communities and experiments with ethnographic embedding in relevant workshops and conferences where AI intersects with social issues. In addition, the project investigates and instigates formats of public engagement by hosting participatory workshops that enable stakeholders and members of the public to debate and negotiate AI pathways.
This particular research design allows the project to retrace how 21st-century AI has been repeatedly constructed as both a problem and a solution: how throughout its brief history and unknown future, AI cultures negotiate across controversies and (apparent) closure without the scope of “AI” ever being fully defined.This international, comparative, multi-methodological study with a clear commitment to public knowledge and engagement seeks to extend and redistribute the range of expertise that is relevant to ensure that the coming of AI is truly for the greater good.
Shaping AI is a multinational collaboration by the Humboldt Institute of Internet and Society, Berlin, the medialab at Sciences Po, Paris, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methods at the University of Warwick, and the NENIC Lab at INRS Montreal, and the Algorithmic Media Observatory at Concordia University. The collaborators won a 1,7 Mio € grant awarded by the partners’ national research foundations in the highly competitive Open-Research-Area (ORA) scheme.
|Duration||02/2021 – 01/2024|
|Funding||Förderlinie Open-Research-Area (ORA) von DFG, ANR, ESRC, SSHRC|
|Partners||Medialab at Sciences Po, Paris, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methods (CIM) at the University of Warwick, and the NENIC Lab at INRS Montreal, and the Algorithmic Media Observatory at Concordia University|
Part of the research programme
Digital & Indiscipline: HIIG Explainer videos with English subtitles
Anna Jobin, Dr.Senior Researcher: The Evolving Digital Society
Christian Katzenbach, Dr.Associated researcher: The evolving digital society
Fabian SofskyAssociated Researcher: The Evolving Digital Society
Laura LiebigAssociated Researcher: The evolving digital society
Licinia GüttelAssociated Researcher: The Evolving Digital Society
Lea TiyavorabunFormer Student assistant: The Evolving Digital Society
Book contributions and chapters
Scheibner, J., Jobin, A., & Vayena, E. (2022). Internet of Things Devices, Citizen Science Research and the Right to Science: Ethical and Legal Issues. In M. Ienca, O. Pollicino, L. Liguori, E. Stefanini, & R. Andorno, The Cambridge Handbook of Information Technology, Life Sciences and Human Rights (pp. 231-243). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/9781108775038 Publication details
Jobin, A., Guettel, L., Liebig, L., & Katzenbach, C. (2021). AI Federalism: shaping AI policy within states in Germany. arXiv. Publication details
Lectures and presentationsEthics and Epistemology for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Behavior
Frontiers Symposium: 12. Brazilian-German Frontiers of Science and Technology Symposium. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Maceió Atlantico, Maceió, Brazil: 02.07.2022 Further information
Anna JobinCommunicating AI Policy: How Technology Comes to Matter in Media
Annual ICA Conference: 72nd Annual ICA Conference: One World, One Network‽ (Session: Communicating AI: Shaping Artificial Intelligence in Policy, Research and Media). International Communication Association. Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, Le Palais des Congrès de Paris, Le Méridien Etoile, Paris, France: 30.05.2022 Further information
Anna Jobin, Laura Liebig, Christian KatzenbachIntelligent machines in a fluid world: Deconstructing metaphors in Japanese AI policy
Artificial Intelligence and the Human Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Science and Fiction (Session: The Languages of AI). Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Japanese-German Center Berlin. Japanese-German Center Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 12.05.2022 Further information
Maurice JonesShaping AI – Imaginaries and Controversies of AI in Media and Policy
Artificial Intelligence and the Human Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Science and Fiction (Session: Imagining AI & the Human). Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, Japanese-German Center Berlin. Japanese-German Center Berlin, Berlin, Germany: 12.05.2022 Further information
Christian Katzenbach, Vanessa Richter, Anna Jobin, Laura LiebigChallenges in governing AI - evidence from soft law
Invited Talk. AI Lund, ADM Nordic. Online, Lund, Sweden: 15.12.2021 Further information
Anna JobinTargeted: Digital Communication and Advertising
Panel: Communication and Ad-Financed Media. University of Leipzig. University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany: 12.11.2021
Anna JobinAI federalism: shaping AI policy within states
Digital Democracy Workshop (Session: Governance, Regulation, and Public Policy). Democracy Community of the Digital Society Initiative, Digital Democracy Lab at the University of Zurich. University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland: 28.10.2021 Further information
Licinia Gütel, Anna Jobin
Organisation of eventsDigitaler Salon: KI – Die Letzte räumt das Internet auf
31.03.2021. Livestream, Berlin, Deutschland (National) Further information
Natasha Vukajlovic, Philip Meier, Christian Grauvogel