The Co-Change Lab of the Centre for Innovation Systems and Policy of the Austrian Institute of Technology focuses on the challenges that the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence bring to light. While artificial intelligence and machine learning are very helpful and promising technologies that pervade our professional as well as our private life, they can be the source of unfamiliar problems or even dangers. For example, facial recognition software or smartphone data by mobility analytics raise critical questions about data protection, privacy, ethics, and even democracy. By the establishment of the Lab, the motivation was to understand the background of these technologies and the way that problems of machine learning are born. The different ways of thinking about these technologies are being investigated in the Lab: the approach of IT researchers or that of the social scientists. Lab members are also working on raising awareness on the challenges and changing practices at their own institute and beyond (by mapping the researchers and other stakeholders who would cooperate with them). As there is a lack of incentives for research funding and performing organisations to think about the challenges of machine learning technologies and to minimise their potentially problematic social and ethical consequences, the AIT Co-Change Lab would like to find useful practices to make this technology more human-centred and less dangerous for our lives.
AIT is giving itself a new research strategy and the Co-Change Lab is involved in discussing sections on artificial intelligence and on RRI.