Atlas of AI: Mapping the Politics and Ethics of How Artificial Intelligence is Made
Machine learning systems are already playing a significant role in many of our social institutions, including healthcare, education, hiring and criminal justice. But despite the patina of objectivity and neutrality, many scholars have shown how these systems can reproduce and intensify forms of structural bias and discrimination. In this talk, Dr. Kate Crawford shares insights from her new book Atlas of AI to show the historical origins, labor practices, infrastructures, and epistemological assumptions that underlie the production of artificial intelligence. The classificatory logics and predictive approaches raise challenges that extend well beyond the current bias debate. By focusing on the role of data in creating “ground truth”, we see the ethical and political consequences of how AI systems are currently trained. Crawford offers new paths for thinking through the research ethics and policy implications of the turn to machine learning, which are increasingly urgent in a time of a pandemic and growing inequality in the United States.
Dr. Kate Crawford is a leading scholar of science, technology and society, and the author of Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence (Yale, 2021). Over a 20-year career, her work has focused on understanding large scale data systems and AI in the wider contexts of history, politics, labor, and the environment. Kate has held academic positions around the world, including MIT, NYU and the University of Sydney. She is the inaugural Visiting Chair of AI and Justice at the École Normale Supérieure, a Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the cofounder of the AI Now Institute at NYU. Her collaborative projects Anatomy of an AI System and Excavating AI have won international awards including the Ayrton Prize, and she has contributed to policy discussions across the US, EU, UK and Australia. Her research has been published in journals such as Nature, New Media & Society, Science, Technology & Human Values, and her writing has appeared in venues such as The New York Times, Harpers’ Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.