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Hacking AI Governance: Exploring the Democratic Potential of Canada's Algorithmic Impact Assessment


Hacking AI Governance: Exploring the Democratic Potential of Canada's Algorithmic Impact Assessment

Gertler, Nicholas (2023) Hacking AI Governance: Exploring the Democratic Potential of Canada's Algorithmic Impact Assessment. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Amid growing concern over the adoption of artificial intelligence systems, algorithmic impact assessments (AIAs) have increasingly been proposed as a means of measuring and mitigating the impacts of AI. Proposed AIA methods vary significantly in their approaches, but even within this heterogeneous group, the AIA tool released by the Government of Canada in 2019 stands out. This AIA tool—an open-source, online questionnaire platform—represents one of the first-ever attempts at putting principles of “responsible AI” into practice. In this research-creation thesis, I explore Canada’s AIA tool as a media object, looking at the online questionnaire as a strategic opportunity to intervene in the growing debates about AI governance. Building on methods in critical making and civic hacking, this project includes the creation of both a critical guide to the AIA tool (aia.guide) and a series of “AIA hackathon” workshops designed to explore the tool’s use by the Government of Canada and its potential in the broader AI governance context. Informed by a deep ambivalence over the technology (Bucher 2019), I argue that the AIA tool is largely performative but also represents an important site for tactical intervention. In particular, I argue that collaborative processes of questionnaire design may prove to be effective methods for participatory and community-based AI governance.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Gertler, Nicholas
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:3 August 2023
Thesis Supervisor(s):McKelvey, Fenwick
Keywords:artificial intelligence, automated decision-making, governance, responsible AI, participatory methods, research-creation
ID Code:992742
Deposited By: Nicholas Gertler
Deposited On:14 Nov 2023 20:41
Last Modified:14 Nov 2023 20:41
Related URLs:


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