Centre for AI Futures

Overview

The explosive growth of data, and the algorithms and computing infrastructures developed to process this data, is transforming societies.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – or the growing ability of machines to do tasks previously attributed to humans – is predicted to change how we live and how we are governed while redrawing our attention to the larger philosophical debates of what it means to be human.

How these changes are imagined, however, often reflect the prerogatives of major players located in the US, EU and China, neglecting the perspectives of smaller nations experiencing the many social, political and cultural disruptions brought about by new forms of algorithmic governance even as these nations participate and provide the AI universe.

The Centre for AI Futures is a new initiative at the School of Law, Gender and Media at SOAS. It is unique globally in its exclusive focus on the implications of AI in countries of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We are strengthened in our mission by the theoretical, methodological and practical expertise of our global partners, the Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Helsinki and industry expertise in data analysis and machine learning by Quilt.ai.

Three pillars

The centre’s interdisciplinary and collaborative activities rest on three pillars:

  • The Cultural Effects of AI: New research initiatives focused on the variegated impacts of AI in the Global South and the theoretical and philosophical questions raised by such.
  • Methodological Innovations: Data-driven methodologies to facilitate research and interventions into policy and legal debates and also to work with and within the AI industry for purpose-driven applications.
  • Practice based Research: Working towards a critical framework to understand and study AI practitioners and their milieu and how this impacts output.

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