Research Track

Intelligence and Autonomy

Active from 2014-2018, this track developed grounded, qualitative research to contextualize a cross-disciplinary understanding of AI, and to inform the design, evaluation, and regulation of AI-driven systems.

About this Track

Our newest AI-related research can be found under the research track AI on the Ground.

Rather than focus on utopian dreaming or dystopian fears, the Intelligence & Autonomy research track (2014-2018) began from the position that the historical and social contexts in which AI systems emerge and operate should be central to debates about their uses and potential effects. To contribute to and develop this understanding, we produced empirical research ranging from an analysis of the ways in which service platforms, like Uber, may present a potential backdoor to employment discrimination to the history of aviation autopilot litigation and its implications for legal responsibility in autonomous systems.

We also engaged a range of stakeholders, aiming to foster productive interdisciplinary and inter-institutional conversations. These engagements included invited talks and workshops, including Futures Forum 2015, a cross-disciplinary convening that used scenarios drawn from commissioned science fiction stories as a collective starting point for new and inclusive ways of planning for the future. We also published An AI Pattern Language, a booklet based on interviews conducted in 2015-2016 with practitioners working in the intelligent systems and AI industry that presents a taxonomy of social challenges facing AI industry practitioners and articulates an array of patterns that practitioners have developed in response.

The Intelligence & Autonomy Initiative was founded with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Microsoft Research, with additional research support from The Ethics and Governance of AI Fund.

All Work

  • Longform
    Data & Society
    Held March 24-25, 2015 at Data & Society, the I&A Forum was an in-person intensive working session that used scenarios drawn from science fiction as a means of bringing together experts from a variety of different secto... Read more
    March 2015
  • report
    Data & Society
    What will happen to current regimes of liability when driverless cars become commercially available? What happens when there is no human actor—only a computational agent—responsible for an accident? "Praise the Machine! Punish the Human!" addresses these questions by examining the historical emergence and response to autopilot and cruise control. Read more
    February 2015
  • Resource
    Data & Society
    This primer discusses the influence of science-fiction on intelligent systems and examines the growing ways in which AI technology is changing and disrupting human labor. Read more
    October 2014