AI transparency: a matter of reconciling design with critique

AI and Society (forthcoming)
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Abstract

In the late 2010s, various international committees, expert groups, and national strategy boards have voiced the demand to ‘open’ the algorithmic black box, to audit, expound, and demystify artificial intelligence. The opening of the algorithmic black box, however, cannot be seen only as an engineering challenge. In this article, I argue that only the sort of transparency that arises from critique—a method of theoretical examination that, by revealing pre-existing power structures, aims to challenge them—can help us produce technological systems that are less deceptive and more just. I relate the question of AI transparency to the broader challenge of responsible making, contending that future action must aim to systematically reconcile design—as a way of concealing—with critique—as a manner of revealing.

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