CfP: “Urban Civic AI: (Re)Imagining Public Values in Artificial Intelligence”

With colleagues Luke Hespanhol (University of Sydney) & Nanna Verhoeff (UU) I am co-editing a special issue on what we call “Urban Civic AI” >>

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been increasingly embedded in urban infrastructure and services. From predictive policing to public health control, from autonomous vehicles to social profiling and credit systems, the spread of machine learning (ML) and algorithmic decision-making (ADM) is set to profoundly transform urban life, administration, and the relationships between government, industry and civil society. It also points to the emergence of a future where governance and planning of cities are potentially conducted by intelligent algorithms, with humans largely ‘out-of-the-loop’.

This raises at least three serious concerns. First, lack of transparency about the steps adopted for training of models and deployment of AI across the city, as well as when interactions between citizens and AI may take place, thus compromising trust on the city’s management and decision-making processes. Second, lack of accountability due to overreliance on technology corporations to supply algorithms, data models and, more importantly, the computational infrastructure required to effectively process data gathered from the city. Finally, the combination of low trust and poor accountability risks dramatically compromising civic discourse and citizen democratic participation.

In this Research Topic, we particularly welcome Conceptual Analysis articles (please see a description of Frontiers article types here) with a maximum of 8,000 words, discussing how the increasing pervasiveness of AI in cities challenges and redefines notions of civicness, and how fields like the Human-Computer Interaction, Design, Social Sciences, and Urban Studies might adapt in response. In doing so, we propose the articles to address one of three aspects below:

Link to call >>

There’s a rolling deadline, but the website says this:

Manuscript Submission Deadline 22 May 2023
Manuscript Extension Submission Deadline 21 June 2023

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