The global debate on the nature, use and consequences regarding a set of technologies around Artificial Neural Networks (ANN), often dubbed Artificial Intelligence (AI), is still ongoing and highly relevant. University of Westmister Press Editor Pieter Verdegem therefore started the book project AI for Everyone? Critical Perspectives as part of the Critical, Digital and Social Media Studies series to extend the much needed critical view on AI including looking at the promises, power and politics of AI. The book was just published and is available as Open Access, but can surely also be purchased as hard cover version. It was recommended by The Syllabus.
“We are entering a new era of technological determinism and solutionism in which governments and business actors are seeking data-driven change, assuming that Artificial Intelligence is now inevitable and ubiquitous. But we have not even started asking the right questions, let alone developed an understanding of the consequences. Urgently needed is debate that asks and answers fundamental questions about power. This book brings together critical interrogations of what constitutes AI, its impact and its inequalities in order to offer an analysis of what it means for AI to deliver benefits for everyone. The book is structured in three parts
- Part 1 – AI: Humans vs. Machines, presents critical perspectives on human-machine dualism.
- Part 2 – Discourses and Myths About AI, excavates metaphors and policies to ask normative questions about what is ‘desirable’ AI and what conditions make this possible.
- Part 3 – AI Power and Inequalities, discusses how the implementation of AI creates important challenges that urgently need to be addressed.
Bringing together scholars from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and regional contexts, this book offers a vital intervention on one of the most hyped concepts of our times.”
Although all articles are definitely worth reading, we can especially recommend the Introduction: Why We Need Critical Perspectives on AI by Pieter Verdegem himself: “This chapter introduces the volume and lays the foundations of why critical perspectives are necessary to overcome utopian and dystopian perspectives on AI. It develops the argument that we need to ask critical questions and come up with a nuanced vision towards AI if we want to make sure that AI will benefit society at large. Key themes include: conceptualising AI, visions of AI in policies and ethics, the role of capitalism and power and the case for a radical democratisation of AI before articulating some key principles to follow in developing AI of benefit to all. Finally the introduction gives an overview of how the edited volume is organised and how the different contributions fit together.”
But we also want to recommend the chapter of Rainer Rehak, one of the researchers in this group, about The Language Labyrinth: Constructive Critique on the Terminology Used in the AI Discourse: “In the interdisciplinary field of artificial intelligence (AI) the problem of clear terminology is especially momentous. This paper claims, that AI debates are still characterised by a lack of critical distance to metaphors like ‘training’, ‘learning’ or ‘deciding’. As consequence, reflections regarding responsibility or potential use-cases are greatly distorted. Yet, if relevant decision-makers are convinced that AI can develop an ‘understanding’ or properly ‘interpret’ issues, its regular use for sensitive tasks like deciding about social benefits or judging court cases looms. The chapter argues its claim by analysing central notions of the AI debate and tries to contribute by proposing more fitting terminology and hereby enabling more fruitful debates. It is a conceptual work at the intersection of critical computer science and philosophy of language.”
Book launch event
There will be a virtual book launch event on Thursday, the 16th of December 2021 at 18:00 – 20:00 CET. Tickets are available via eventbrite.co.uk.