Tag Archives: sociotechnical design

We are Designers – We shape our future with and without Artificial Intelligence

Yesterday I held a keynote in the Digital Business Trends Event Series.

My talk drew strongly from activity theory and communities of practice as theoretical background of understanding human activity and the role of tools, and of human development, and embedding in social contexts.

Key points of my talk are described (in German) in the DBT Blog: http://www.dbt.at/Site/We_are_designers___Wir_gestalten_unser_Leben_mit_und.de.html.

In short, I think that we need to frame the discussion around artificial intelligence as starting from the question: What are our goals and values – as individuals, as organisations, and as society. Secondly, we need to create – at all these levels – an understanding of how artificial intelligence can contribute to these goals. This necessitates both a technical understanding (without everyone of us needing to become artificial intelligence experts, data analysts or data scientists), a business understanding of what these technologies could mean for an organisation, and a societal understanding of wider implications. Finally, we need to understand technologies in their social context – so we need to consider and keep an eye open on impact on the whole sociotechnical system.

At all levels, we therefore need to develop on the one hand self-efficacy in relationship to artificial intelligence technologies; and leading towards this, we need to develop the competence to understand artificial intelligence in relationship to our goals and values.

We will not be able to solve everything at either level: individual, organisation or society – but we are designers of our life with artificial intelligence (or without it) at all these levels; not only as software developers and developing organisations, but also as users and user organisations.