Alex Taylor receives the BRAID fellowship

[08/05/2024] Dr Alex Taylor, Reader in Design Informatics is among 17 recipients of the Bridging Responsible AI Divides (BRAID) Fellowships announced on Tuesday, 7 May. The Fellows, appointed from universities across the UK, will apply research expertise from humanities and arts including data ethics, copyright law, digital design and qualitative analysis to address questions around the responsible use of AI.

Photo of Alex Taylor

Each Fellow will partner with an organisation from the public, private or third sector to unite expertise for tackling existing, new or emerging AI challenges.   

Dr Alex Taylor will work with Microsoft Research on a project: Muted registers: A feminist intersectional (re)figuring of red-teaming.

It's really crucial for me to understand the role people play in AI. Too often, successes in AI are couched in purely technological terms. It's understandable, of course, to get excited about things like the startling achievements in generative AI and recent advances in large language models. However, obscured here is the labour involved in getting these technologies to work and, of particular interest to me, the asymmetries in working conditions and recognition when we look across AI's global supply chain. The study that I plan to do on red-teaming, that will be centred in the Global South, is an attempt to examine these asymmetries and, ultimately, provide a broader and richer context in which we work towards more just and responsible AI. 

Alex is a Reader in Design Informatics and has been contributing to the areas of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Science and Technology Studies (STS) for over twenty years. His research ranges from empirical studies of technology in everyday life to speculative design interventions. Alex’s interests are in how digital technologies are co-constitutive of forms of knowing and being, and, as a consequence, provide a basis for fundamental transformations in society. His work is driven by a desire to critically engage with the social and ethical implications of technology and a commitment towards more just worlds. 

A £2.4 million initiative has been launched to help organisations develop solutions for pressing questions around the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI). 

The Bridging Responsible AI Divides (BRAID) Fellowships are part of the BRAID programme. BRAID is led by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Ada Lovelace Institute and the BBC. The £15.9 million, six-year programme is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI).

The impact of AI can already be felt in many areas of our lives. It will transform our jobs and livelihoods, and impact on areas as diverse as education, policing and the creative industries. It is vital that we ensure its responsible development and use. 

The BRAID fellowships announced today will play an invaluable role informing the practice and tools crucial to ensuring this transformative technology is used responsibly to provide benefits for all of society.

Project leads at the University of Edinburgh said the Fellowships will support the creation of an AI ecosystem which will enable researchers and industry and public sector leaders to develop a deeper understanding of AI and its challenges and opportunities.

The 17 Fellowships offer opportunities for deeper relationships and joint impact, moving towards a genuine embedding of arts and humanities knowledge within how we think about, develop and deploy AI in practice and in the world. It is our hope that with these connections, and working towards common challenges across sectors and diverse communities, we will take substantial strides towards a more responsible AI ecosystem.

We are reaching a critical point in society where businesses and the public sector recognise that deploying AI systems safely and responsibly requires new kinds of knowledge and expertise, which can be challenging to access - the BRAID fellowships aim to bring together researchers with industry and the public sector to help bridge that divide between technical capability and the knowledge of how to use it wisely and well, to ensure that the benefits of AI are realised for the good of us all.

BRAID, based at The Centre for Technomoral Futures at Edinburgh Futures Institute, the University of Edinburgh, is dedicated to integrating arts and humanities research more fully into the responsible AI ecosystem, as well as bridging the divides between academic, industry, policy and regulatory work on responsible AI.

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