Perspectives from Liberal Arts on the Practical Turn in AI Ethics
Friday, May 19, 1:00 – 2:30 pm


The increasing proliferation of advanced digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) capable of performing tasks and making decisions previously reserved for humans has surfaced important ethical questions. Emerging transformative applications like generative and multi-modal AI systems and automated decision-support systems in government have raised the stakes as developers, regulators, researchers, and civil society have worked to respond. Current discourse emphasizes issues like the distribution of costs and benefits across groups and contexts, the translation of principle-based frameworks to practices, the role of diversity and public participation, and trade-offs between goals like innovation and the protection of human rights. Yet dominant responses in scholarly and policy discourse have emphasized some perspectives and solutions while other approaches have arguably not been fully explored.

The present panel offers theoretically rooted perspectives on the ethical understanding and practice of AI according to scholarship in the liberal arts: historical and sociotechnical analysis, public policy, communications, and moral philosophy. For individuals focused on computing and engineering as well as researchers and practitioners who see the value of interdisciplinary thinking, this panel will provide insight into how scholars in the social sciences and humanities are approaching AI’s social and ethical dimensions, and an opportunity for dialogue. Salient questions include:

1. What are the central issues and theoretical frameworks used to study AI ethics in these disciplines?
2. What methodologies and perspectives from liberal arts might enhance the state of AI ethics research and practice?
3. What questions are not currently being asked, and what proposals not being fully considered?
4. What does it mean to successfully incorporate interdisciplinarity in this space?

Sorin Adam Matei, Professor of Communication, Purdue University

Ekaterina Babintseva, Assistant Professor of History, Purdue University
James Messina, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Purdue University
Kaylyn Jackson Schiff, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Purdue University
Sorin Adam Matei, Professor of Communication, Purdue University

Daniel Schiff, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Purdue University