Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are increasingly portrayed as poised to reshape modern society and achieve far-reaching positive change. Yet many of the initial instances of AI real-world systems deployed into society pose significant societal risks, with particularly acute harms to historically marginalized peoples. In response, various stakeholders have sought to propose ethical guidelines and technical mitigations to serve as ethical guardrails for future technology deployment and development.
In this talk, William Isaac proposes that for ethical frameworks to be effective in re-aligning technology, historical perspectives and their influence on values and power dynamics must be taken into account. Using examples of AI in high-stakes domains such as healthcare and criminal justice, he will discuss how critical evaluations blending insight from data science and STS can lead to dynamic and robust ethical “foresight” to mitigate potential societal harms. William Isaac will conclude with a discussion of potential challenges to using foresight in practice and open questions for future research.