Social science perspectives on artificial intelligence. A special issue.

Unpacking the Algorithm: Social Science Perspectives on AI
Special issue of the Journal of Digital Social Research
Vol. 2 : No. 3 : November 2020

This special issue collects six articles tackling artificial intelligence (AI) from a social science perspective. The diverse set of contributions not only illustrates the potential, importance, and breadth of social science research in this area, but also sketches the outlines of a research agenda developed by Simon Lindgren & Jonny Holmström in the special issue introduction.

Highlighting the discursive self-presentation of AI, Amanda Lagerkvist‘s article problematises how AI mythologically constructs its futures as inevitable. Similarly, Jakob Svensson and Oriol Poveda Guillen‘s article aligns with a view of data and algorithms as dynamic actants, rather than as objective and firmly-set entities, developing a critique of data-essentialism.

Furthermore, Leah Govia‘s article targets assumptions of technological determinism and shifts the focus towards everyday interactions with AI systems and processes, thereby contributing to a situated understanding of AI. Similarly Stefan Seidel et al., writing about AI in video game design, apply a contextualised perspective where the autonomous design tools are seen as participating agents in the design process. The article by Ana Pop Stefanija and Jo Pierson emphasises how the present data landscape demands continuous adaptation and smart combinations of both new and existing research methods.