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Varieties of transparency: exploring agency within AI systems

Varieties of transparency: exploring agency within AI systems
Varieties of transparency: exploring agency within AI systems
AI systems play an increasingly important role in shaping and regulating the lives of millions of human beings across the world. Calls for greater transparency from such systems have been widespread. However, there is considerable ambiguity concerning what “transparency” actually means, and therefore, what greater transparency might entail. While, according to some debates, transparency requires seeing through the artefact or device, widespread calls for transparency imply seeing into different aspects of AI systems. These two notions are in apparent tension with each other, and they are present in two lively but largely disconnected debates. In this paper, we aim to further analyse what these calls for transparency entail, and in so doing, clarify the sorts of transparency that we should want from AI systems. We do so by offering a taxonomy that classifies different notions of transparency. After a careful exploration of the different varieties of transparency, we show how this taxonomy can help us to navigate various domains of human–technology interactions, and more usefully discuss the relationship between technological transparency and human agency. We conclude by arguing that all of these different notions of transparency should be taken into account when designing more ethically adequate AI systems.
AI Ethics, Agency, Philosophy of AI, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Technology, Transparency
0951-5666
Andrada, Gloria
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Clowes, Rob
e9451861-e2ff-44c1-8776-77722c1def85
Smart, Paul
cd8a3dbf-d963-4009-80fb-76ecc93579df
Andrada, Gloria
7e0add5b-02ab-42a8-a54b-3dc9ec72021b
Clowes, Rob
e9451861-e2ff-44c1-8776-77722c1def85
Smart, Paul
cd8a3dbf-d963-4009-80fb-76ecc93579df

Andrada, Gloria, Clowes, Rob and Smart, Paul (2022) Varieties of transparency: exploring agency within AI systems. AI & Society. (doi:10.1007/s00146-021-01326-6).

Record type: Article

Abstract

AI systems play an increasingly important role in shaping and regulating the lives of millions of human beings across the world. Calls for greater transparency from such systems have been widespread. However, there is considerable ambiguity concerning what “transparency” actually means, and therefore, what greater transparency might entail. While, according to some debates, transparency requires seeing through the artefact or device, widespread calls for transparency imply seeing into different aspects of AI systems. These two notions are in apparent tension with each other, and they are present in two lively but largely disconnected debates. In this paper, we aim to further analyse what these calls for transparency entail, and in so doing, clarify the sorts of transparency that we should want from AI systems. We do so by offering a taxonomy that classifies different notions of transparency. After a careful exploration of the different varieties of transparency, we show how this taxonomy can help us to navigate various domains of human–technology interactions, and more usefully discuss the relationship between technological transparency and human agency. We conclude by arguing that all of these different notions of transparency should be taken into account when designing more ethically adequate AI systems.

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Accepted/In Press date: 29 October 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 January 2022
Additional Information: Funding Information: Gloria Andrada: This work is funded by national funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia under the project UIDB/00183/2020. Robert W. Clowes: This work is funded by national funds through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia scientific stimulus grant FCT DL 57/2016/CP1453/CT0021. Paul Smart: This work is supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as part of the PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity under Grant Number EP/S035362/1. Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature. Copyright: Copyright 2022 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Keywords: AI Ethics, Agency, Philosophy of AI, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Technology, Transparency

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 454699
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/454699
ISSN: 0951-5666
PURE UUID: 09ee1d94-cd3a-42e6-8a97-b40b5e41f13f
ORCID for Paul Smart: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9989-5307

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Date deposited: 21 Feb 2022 17:39
Last modified: 10 Jan 2023 05:01

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Contributors

Author: Gloria Andrada
Author: Rob Clowes
Author: Paul Smart ORCID iD

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