Civic Automated Decision-Making
Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, and Social Services
Research Program: Data
As part of the ARC Centre’s mandate to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making, this project engages with the role played by such systems in democracy and civic life. The impetus for this project is to supplement discussions of AI ethics with those of AI civics – and, in particular to consider the practices, policies, technologies, and social-political arrangements of automated decision making systems that are most compatible with a vibrant democracy.
Recent developments render such a conversation increasingly pressing. The institutions that to which we have entrusted the development of some of the most powerful automated contemporary information and communication technologies available do not necessarily have civic or democratic concerns as top priority – this is not what they are built to do. Our steering mechanisms are having a difficult time keeping up – and it is crucially important to consider alternative possible arrangements for storing and processing the data upon which society relies. These questions lie at the heart of what it means to formulate world-leading policy and practice, as envisioned by the Centre.
This project draws upon expertise from across the Centre’s programs and Focus Areas to develop conceptual and practical interventions designed to align automated systems with civic and democratic imperatives. The initial phase of the project was an agenda setting workshop to consider key issues and approaches. The next step will be a themed issue or edited collection that develops approaches to Civic ADM. The final stage will include integration of these approaches with practical initiatives in the Centre, including observability and accountability projects.