Thomas Poell reflects on the societal impact of AI-driven virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant.
|Date||3 December 2020|
Virtual assistants are software agents that perform tasks and services based on user commands or questions. Rapidly becoming ubiquitous, they allow a wide variety of third parties, most prominently device manufacturers and content and service providers, to reach billions of users.
As these assistants become central to economic transactions and information exchange, they potentially generate related problems of market concentration, privacy invasion, discrimination, and misinformation.
To address these challenges, Poell proposes to critically examine virtual assistants as platforms. Building on and advancing the concept of platformisation, he discusses how the relations between assistants, third parties and users can be studied along four interrelated dimensions: infrastructures, markets, governance and imaginations.
The webinar series ‘Humane Conversations’ connects researchers from various disciplines to discuss AI research topics, with a particular focus on human-centred AI. This is the third webinar in the series ‘Humane Conversations’ which is organised by the UvA’s Research Priority Area Human(e) AI.
The University of Amsterdam has designated Human(e) AI as one of its research priority areas. The aim is to bring synergy to ongoing work on AI and stimulate new research at the UvA on the societal consequences of the rapid development of artificial intelligence and automated decision-making.