AI FORA will address the following research questions:
- How were social assessment routines for distributing social services organised and institutionalised in different international societies prior to any AI use, which societal norms and values were used as reference for these social assessment routines, and which policies or institutional infrastructures supported these context-specific social assessment practices?
- How and up to which degree have conventional social assessment processes in different international societies been replaced or changed by AI, where do non-AI and AI processes differ, especially with regard to implemented social assessment values, and how do societal stakeholders, policy, public discourse and institutional infrastructures respond?
- How will AI change public service provision and its underlying societal value systems in future, how context- and path-dependent are these changes, and what will be likely effects and impacts for living conditions and well-being in international societies?
- Which policies, behavioural changes and institutional developments are necessary and appropriate to prevent or support certain scenarios?
- How to create better, i.e. more responsible AI technology that engages with societal norms and values of stakeholders, and that is responsive to sociocultural settings and societal needs?
Addressing these research questions requires an interdisciplinary Mixed-Methods Approach of the technical and the social sciences, which will be constantly refined and updated during the project. Questions 1+2 will be empirically examined using a comparative empirical social research methodology. Questions 3+4 will be investigated using AI-based computational modelling and simulation developing empirically informed and calibrated scenario simulations of future AI technology production in context-specific societal settings. Informed by scenario simulations, Question 5 will be addressed within a specially developed methods framework designed by the cooperation of technical sciences (AI research), empirical social research, and social simulation approaches in a co-creation lab.
The Mixed-Methods approach will be embedded into an integrated theoretical framework (the “AI FORA approach”) that will be further developed and elaborated in the project. It mainly consists of five further elements for work:
- Developing a comparative framework for intercultural case study research in AI
- Developing a participatory approach in transdisciplinary research with scientists and non-scientists as involved stakeholders for AI in future society
- Integrating “ethical-AI observatories” at safe spaces
- Finding project-relevant solutions for basic research gaps in participating disciplines
- Developing policy recommendations for global and local AI governance