March 4, 2022
As social and regulatory pressures on the field AI mounts to address risks and harms AI systems can pose, organizations are in need to rapidly innovate in the field of “ethical AI”. In response, there is a fast-developing and well-funded field of computational interpretations of “ethical AI”. This field is outpacing efforts to understand how AI practitioners socially organize to operationalize ethical concerns. This is particularly true for AI start-ups, despite their significance as a conduit for the cultural production of innovation and progress, especially in the US American and European context. The gap in empirical research on AI ethics as a social practice intensifies the risk of a disconnect between scholarly work, innovation and application.
This presentation will present work that sets out to address this issue. It presents empirical findings from an ongoing study on the operationalization of “ethics” in German AI start-ups to outline how AI ethics and social practices should be analyzed against the backdrop of their specific cultural and historical contexts. It will close with a proposal for systematically analyzing existing social practices of “ethical AI” as a basis for effectively implementing socio-technical innovations that respond to AI regulation mandating fairness, accountability, and transparency.
Dr. Mona Sloane is a sociologist working on design and inequality, specifically in the context of AI design and policy. She is a Senior Research Scientist at the NYU Center for Responsible AI, Faculty at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, a Fellow with NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK) and The GovLab, and the Director of the *This Is Not A Drill* program on technology, inequality and the climate emergency at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is principal investigator on multiple research projects on AI and society, and holds an affiliation with the Tübingen AI Center at the University of Tübingen in Germany. Mona also is the convenor of the IPK Co-Opting AI series and serves as editor of the technology section at Public Books. Follow her on Twitter @mona_sloane.