Roundtable on Reframing AI Governance through a Political Economy Lens

Roundtable on Reframing AI Governance through a Political Economy Lens
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IT for Change and the Transnational Institute

The entry of generative AI applications in the digital marketplace has intensified recent public debates about AI. Silicon Valley’s ‘move fast’ techno-optimism is now under the scanner. A humane and just AI system requires a radical restructuring of the global political-economic regime of knowledge, innovation, and development. In an era characterized by system-wide platformization and datafication, a reactionary clamor for a pause on AI technology development is not useful; nor will strategies for inclusive techno-design be enough. The need of the hour is a robust structural justice approach to AI governance that is able to articulate the pathways for multi-scalar institutional transformation.

IT for Change and Transnational Institute (TNI) invite interested scholars, activists, and practitioners to examine the building blocks of a transformative approach to AI governance. We aim to unpack the political economy considerations in AI governance and discuss new institutional arrangements to advance AI as a catalyst of generative and accountable economies and societies. The one-day event, planned for 28 June 2023, seeks to bring together a small group of participants drawn from various backgrounds and expertise for a hybrid meeting in Amsterdam. Key questions we will tackle include:


  1. From a structural justice standpoint, what are the blind spots in prevailing AI governance approaches? How should we challenge the hegemonic narrative?
  2. To realize the vision of generative and accountable AI economies and societies, does a human rights-based AI governance approach hold the answers? Why or why not?
  3. How can AI infrastructural capabilities be democratized? What changes would this entail in legal and regulatory approaches? (e.g., trade regimes, IP regimes, controls on financial capital, infrastructural financing, etc.)
  4. How can AI research and development encode values of open innovation to promote just AI economies? What are the tensions in coding for the common good?
  5. How can we move towards contextually-embedded ideas of AI innovation based on small data/community-controlled models?
  6. How do we broaden the debate on oversight and public scrutiny of AI systems?
  7. What would it take to build an AI economic order that preserves and promotes the development sovereignty of the majority world?

A few funded spots for Europe-based participants are currently open. Selected participants from other regions will participate online. The sessions will run from 9 AM to 4.30 PM CET. If you would like to engage with an interdisciplinary community spanning academia, civil society, policymakers, and development theorists on these crucial issues, fill up this online form by 10 June 2023 with your bio and a short EOI of 200 to 300 words that captures your work in the domain and the provocation you want to bring.