Book or ChapterSeptember 29 2016

An AI Pattern Language

Madeleine Clare Elish,
Tim Hwang

D&S researchers Madeleine Clare Elish and Tim Hwang discuss the social challenges of AI in their collection of essays, An AI Pattern Language.

From the authors:

How are practitioners grappling with the social impacts of AI systems?

In an AI Pattern Language, we present a taxonomy of social challenges that emerged from interviews with a range of practitioners working in the intelligent systems and AI industry. In the book, we describe these challenges and articulate an array of patterns that practitioners have developed in response. You can find a preview of the patterns on this page, and you’ll find more context, information, and analysis in the full text.

The inspirational frame (and title) for this project has been the unique collection of architectural theory by Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language (1977). For Alexander, the central problem is the built environment. While our goal here is not as grand as the city planner, we took inspiration from the values of equity and mutual responsibility, as well as the accessible form, found in A Pattern Language. Like Alexander’s patterns, our document attempts to develop a common language of problems and potential solutions that appear in different contexts and at different scales of intervention.

While we believe the views we present are significant and widely held, these patterns are neither comprehensive nor proscriptive. Rather, this document is an experiment in cataloguing and catalyzing. AI is not out of our control, and an AI Pattern Language calls attention to the ways in which humans make choices about the development and deployment of technology. This text was created in the spirit not of an answer, but of a question: how can we design the technological future in which we want to live?

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