Imagining an AI Commons

On 6 December 2019, scholars from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom gathered to imagine an AI commons. The collaborative workshop to develop a commons-based vision for the future of AI as an intervention to understand transformations in citizen engagement as part of a larger research project to explore practices of citizenship in a skeptical world. 

The workshop resulted in a report Imagining an AI Commons written by Janna Frenzel with Fenwick McKelvey and Bart Simon.

Our report introduce the many facts of the commons and its relation to AI. A commons approach to AI seeks to mitigate these harms, just as commons approaches in other areas have intervened in environmental devastation and the privatization and commodification of knowledge. The term “commons” was initially rooted in theories about the conditions and consequences of sharing resources. But theorists and activists have worked to broaden it, naming new commons in order to advocate for their protection while developing praxis to govern them. This shift in understanding has been greatly informed by indigenous scholarship and indigenous people’s histories, epistemologies, and practices, which offer a wealth of approaches to the management and preservation of common resources, material and otherwise.

Edited and produced by Nick Gertler with report titles by Natalia Balska

This workshop is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Center for the Study of Democratic Citizenship and the Milieux Institute for Arts + Technology at Concordia University.