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On the Limits of Design: What Are the Conceptual Constraints on Designing Artificial Intelligence for Social Good?

by   Jakob Mokander, et al.

Artificial intelligence AI can bring substantial benefits to society by helping to reduce costs, increase efficiency and enable new solutions to complex problems. Using Floridi's notion of how to design the 'infosphere' as a starting point, in this chapter I consider the question: what are the limits of design, i.e. what are the conceptual constraints on designing AI for social good? The main argument of this chapter is that while design is a useful conceptual tool to shape technologies and societies, collective efforts towards designing future societies are constrained by both internal and external factors. Internal constraints on design are discussed by evoking Hardin's thought experiment regarding 'the Tragedy of the Commons'. Further, Hayek's classical distinction between 'cosmos' and 'taxis' is used to demarcate external constraints on design. Finally, five design principles are presented which are aimed at helping policymakers manage the internal and external constraints on design. A successful approach to designing future societies needs to account for the emergent properties of complex systems by allowing space for serendipity and socio-technological coevolution.


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