Resources for Effective & Inclusive Public Deliberation on Data & AI Governance (Design Lab)

Tim Davies

What does it take to have informed, empowered and deliberative dialogue about the impacts of data and artificial intelligence?

From 22nd to 24th November 2023, Connected by Data and Iswe convened a group of thinkers and practitioners who work on public engagement, data and artificial intelligence to explore interventions that could support greater deliberative governance of technology.

You can access the full workshop notes here or review the summary below.

Executive Summary

We explored three main challenges:

  • Decision makers are often not convinced that they should be listening to public voices in the shaping of data and AI;
  • Running an effective deliberation on AI requires good background materials - focussing on the right topics, and recognising the different frames applied to discussion of AI;
  • Running a powerful deliberation on AI requires tailored facilitation.

Collage of four photos. Across the top is a group photo of the Lab attendees.  Beneath are three photos showing people sitting, talking and walking in groups"

In response to these, the participants developed a set of outline resources and plans for action, including:

A framework for making the case for deliberative engagement around AI that identifies the different incentives and arguments that might engage industry, regulators and government.

This work finds that industry (and to an extent regulators) drivers for engagement may be satisfied by less deliberative processes, than the level of deliberation required to satisfy (local) government drivers for engagement. This has implications for the routes that might be taken to scale robust and in-depth deliberative practice on AI.

Collectively we plan to share a developed version of this framework in early 2024.

A guide to designing deliberations around AI to build on discussions of how to evaluate materials, how to frame dialogues that re-center the social context of technology adoption, how to invite diverse stakeholders and how to sequence learning materials to develop meaningful deliberation.

This work highlights that the learning phase of AI deliberations need not focus too much on how AI works, but can empower more by focussing on the data inputs and outputs of systems. It also explored the need for a map of positions on AI to support selection of balanced expert input.

Collectively, we plan to publish an elaborated version of the guide from this work in early 2024, and to invite organisations running deliberations on AI to work with us to apply and test it in live settings, contributing to the bootstrapped development of a library of reviewed learning resources.

Developing a peer-research project on AI futures to support large scale distributed peer-research on AI incorporating participatory futures visioning with priority-setting.

This work would be intended to ask different publics what their visions of a future with AI look like, and their priorities in this space.

Collectively, we plan to develop a funding proposal to take forward this work.

A pitch for a pooled fund to scale deliberative practice on AI, with the goal of delivering AI governance that creates the best outcomes for everyone. The proposal, building on experience of the global citizens assembly on climate change, explores how to create powerful and effective AI governance that explicitly regenerates democracy and social fabric.

Collectively, we plan to develop and share a more detailed concept note for this work in 2024.

If you would like to learn more about, or engage with any of the follow up activities, please contact who will put you in touch with the relevant leads of follow-up work, or join us on the Connected by Data Discord server.

Full report

Access the full workshop report here.

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