Team France

From the creation of laboratories for the testing of intelligent city infrastructure to deep learning trials in hospitals to testbeds that are realized as part of AI industrial strategies, user participation and public involvement are a central component of AI paradigms. It seems that the public discourse surrounding the AI revolution entails a range of new interfaces between science, technology and the society at large. The French team, while paying attention to the articulation of these propositions in policy, research and media circles, is committed to trying to design alternative, social science-led forms of public engagement with AI and the study thereof.

Building up inventive and provocative design methods, we will get in touch with expert actors (journalists, policymakers, researchers/technologists, genuine AI users) to situate their contribution in the past, current and future trajectories of AI. At the same time, we will pay attention to the figures of AI’s users and to the configurations of “humans-in-the-loop” in AI systems: how do AI technologies organise and enrol social participation in their deployment? How are humans computed both individually and collectively in their interactions with AI? How are their identity (as users, beta testers, trainers, sources of data etc.) and agencies defined?

One main ambition of the project is to federate a concerned public, composed of a plurality of actors, who will contribute to the research as co-investigators. Together, we will commit to specify areas of controversiality in AI, to pinpoint and analyse controversies that matter to them and to design specific interventions to address, collectively, problematic trajectories.

Acting as a Design Laboratory, we propose at least three types of activities:

  1. a collective documentation effort as a way to generate situated, practice-based and dialogic perspectives on AI recent history,
  2. engagement workshops that will enable situated and grounded discussions about how AI objects reconfigure human interactions, hence reflecting upon AI not only as technological innovation but also as a series of social experiments, and
  3. interventions that could span from low-tech prototypes able to stimulate new forms of civic commitment to procedures to keep controversies open and inspectable, preventing premature closures.