Can critical policy studies outsmart AI? Research agenda on artificial intelligence technologies and public policy
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionCritical Policy Studies. 2022. https://doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2022.2123018
The insertion of artificial intelligence technologies (AITs) and data-driven automation in public policymaking should be a metaphorical wake-up call for critical policy analysts. Both its wide representation as techno-solutionist remedy in otherwise slow, inefficient, and biased public decision-making and its regulation as a matter of rational risk analysis are conceptually flawed and democratically problematic. To ‘outsmart’ AI, this article stimulates the articulation of a critical research agenda on AITs and public policy, outlining three interconnected lines of inquiry for future research: (1) interpretivist disclosure of the norms and values that shape perceptions and uses of AITs in public policy, (2) exploration of AITs in public policy as a contingent practice of complex human-machine interactions, and (3) emancipatory critique of how ‘smart’ governance projects and AIT regulation interact with (global) inequalities and power relations.