Call: “Artificial Intelligence for Social Good” issue of Philosophy and Technology

Call for Papers

Philosophy & Technology special issue on Artificial Intelligence for Social Good

Guest Editor:
Josh Cowls (Alan Turing Institute & University of Oxford)

Deadline for paper submissions: October 1, 2019

Abstract

We seek submissions of roughly 8,000 words in length, on the ethical, political, design-related, policy-based or cultural considerations surrounding AI4SG in theory and practice. While the motivating questions should be of a philosophical nature, we welcome high-quality submissions regardless of philosophical tradition, research methodology, school of thought, and disciplinary background. Given the diverse contexts in which AI is already being deployed, we particularly encourage submissions from perspectives traditionally underrepresented in related academic and policy debates.

INTRODUCTION

The increasing ubiquity of AI systems offers great promise for addressing previously intractable social problems, including those – like climate change, wildlife conservation and pandemic disease – which cross jurisdictional borders. This problem-solving potential is enabled by a growing technical infrastructure for the collection, processing and sharing of data, much of which is explicitly or inferentially tied to people. Every sector of society has started to engage with efforts to unlock the huge potential of using “AI for Social Good” (AI4SG), as evidenced by an array of initiatives as well as landmark conferences, such as the ITU’s AI for Good Global Summit, which is geared towards using AI to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This special issue will examine the emergence and implications of AI4SG.

Given the scale and potential impact of AI technologies, the trend towards AI4SG provokes complex social, political and ethical questions. Resolving the tension between maximising the opportunities and mitigating the risks of AI may not be possible without addressing the deeper structural challenges that the development and use of AI has already exacerbated. These include, for instance, the amplification of historical biases in training data, the increased risk of harmful inferences as data analysis becomes more sophisticated, and the “experimental” development of algorithmic targeting on already vulnerable populations. Such challenges cut to the heart of broader, longer-standing debates over the best way to develop and deploy technology to effect social change that is beneficial to all.

As a response to these challenges, the role of ethical and equitable design and good governance ought not, perhaps, to be overlooked. The goal of this special issue is to provide firmer foundations for the development, deployment and regulation of AI4SG that is itself “socially good”, by laying bare both the possibilities and risks that AI4SG entails and outlining responses. By bringing together an array of perspectives, diverse in terms of discipline, sector, background, and methodology, the issue is intended to identify and address key issues raised by specific AI4SG projects, and also by “the AI4SG project” itself.

TOPICS

We seek submissions of roughly 8,000 words in length, on the ethical, political, design-related, policy-based or cultural considerations surrounding AI4SG in theory and practice. While the motivating questions should be of a philosophical nature, we welcome high-quality submissions regardless of philosophical tradition, research methodology, school of thought, and disciplinary background. Given the diverse contexts in which AI is already being deployed, we particularly encourage submissions from perspectives traditionally underrepresented in related academic and policy debates.

Questions addressed may include, but are not limited to:

  • How is AI4SG defined, explained and justified by those who are developing and deploying it? How does the historical context in which AI was first conceptualised continue to shape its application in social good contexts today?
  • What are the benefits and risks of given applications of AI for social good? Which best practices emerging from “the field” can be adopted to shape successful AI4SG more broadly?
  • How does the current “hype” around AI, particularly in industry and government, affect attempts to apply it for socially good purposes? What are the benefits and drawbacks of collaborations between civil society/non-profits, academia, industry and government in developing successful AI4SG?
  • What are the risks of leakage – of sensitive data, algorithmic models, and practices – between different contexts, e.g. between the non-profit sector and industry or government?
  • In which geographical areas and for what purposes (e.g., the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals) is AI being applied? What are the implications of such trends for different places and populations?
  • What metrics have been proposed or used to gauge the success or failure of AI4SG projects, and how can such metrics themselves be addressed?
  • Which ethical principles, codes or best practices should guide the development and deployment of AI4SG? To what extent are existing principles of digital ethics adequate to accommodate the particularities of AI4SG, including in diverse geographic contexts?
  • Are existing laws sufficient to deal with the potential risks of “ethics dumping” under the guise of AI4SG?

TIMETABLE

October 1, 2019: Deadline for paper submissions
November 1, 2019: Decisions and revisions returned
December 1, 2019: Deadline for revised papers
January 2020: Publication of the special issue

SUBMISSION DETAILS

To submit a paper for this special issue, authors should go to the journal’s Editorial Manager (http://www.editorialmanager.com/phte/)

The author (or a corresponding author for each submission in case of co- authored papers) must register into EM.

The author must then select the special article type: “Artificial Intelligence for Social Good” from the selection provided in the submission process. This is needed in order to assign the submissions to the Guest Editors.

Submissions will then be assessed according to the following procedure:

New Submission –> Journal Editorial Office –> Guest Editor(s) –> (double-blind) Reviewers –> Reviewers’ Recommendations –> Guest Editor(s)’ Recommendation –> Editor-in-Chief’s Decision –> Author Notification of the Decision.

The process will be reiterated in case of requests for revisions.

For any further information please contact:

Josh Cowls, josh.cowls@oii.ox.ac.uk

ABOUT PHILOSOPHY & TECHNOLOGY

Editor-in-Chief: Luciano Floridi (Oxford)

The journal addresses the expanding scope and unprecedented impact of technologies, in order to improve the critical understanding of the conceptual nature and practical consequences, and hence provide the conceptual foundations for their fruitful and sustainable developments. The journal welcomes high-quality submissions, regardless of the tradition, school of thought or disciplinary background from which they derive.

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