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Stepping back from data and AI for good: current trends and ways forward

Aula, Ville and Bowles, James (2023) Stepping back from data and AI for good: current trends and ways forward. Big Data and Society, 10 (1). ISSN 2053-9517

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Identification Number: 10.1177/20539517231173901

Abstract

Various ‘Data for Good’ and ‘AI for Good’ initiatives have emerged in recent years to promote and organise efforts to use new computational techniques to solve societal problems. The initiatives exercise ongoing influence on how the capabilities of computational techniques are understood as vehicles of social and political change. This paper analyses the development of the initiatives from a rhetorical slogan into a research program that understands itself as a ‘field’ of applications. It discusses recent academic literature on the topic to show a problematic entanglement between the promotion of initiatives and prescriptions of what ‘good’ ought to be. In contrast, we call researchers to take a practical and analytical step back. The paper provides a framework for future research by calling for descriptive research on the composition of the initiatives and critical research that draws from broader social science debates on computational techniques. The empirical part of the paper provides first steps towards this direction by positioning Data and AI for Good initiatives as part of a single continuum and situating it within a historical trajectory that has its immediate precursor in ICT for Development initiatives.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/BDS
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s).
Divisions: Government
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2023 10:12
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2024 23:45
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118688

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