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Åsa Johansson Palmkvist

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About me

Early on in my doctoral studies, I became fascinated by how so much attention and financial investment, all of a sudden, were directed towards a particular group of technologies and associated applications – towards artificial intelligence, AI. At first, the news reports and other accounts were mostly about various science fiction-like visions with either utopian or dystopian tendencies. On the one hand, AI was predicted to be able to detect cancer before the disease had even started. On the other hand, more or less all kinds of jobs were also expected to soon be replaced by machines. And, technology and science celebrities like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking even warned about how AI eventually might outsmart humans and eliminate humanity. But pretty soon another type of stories started to circulate more widely; accounts of how already implemented AI systems reproduce familiar inequalities. For example, of how facial recognition technology does not recognize black women's faces to the same extent as the faces of white men. Or how AI algorithms deployed in the US criminal justice system give black people a higher recidivism risk score. The combination of the substantial influence of this group of technologies and the striking signs that AI is scaling up discrimination makes it important to explore how the doing of AI is related to different dimensions of in/equality. This is also the purpose of my PhD thesis.

By means of interviews with and observations of researchers linked to a major Swedish AI research initiative, I explore how AI research does and negotiates AI in relation to gender and other power and identity dimensions. My research offers a piece to the puzzle of understanding how AI research links to the inclusion and exclusion of different people and enables and restricts specific ways of existing in this world. These are insights that can be used for developing requirements on the AI ​​field in order to make possible AI technologies, and a world, for more.

In my work I draw on feminist theory, STS and organisation studies.

ME1037 Gender Structures and Gender Equality in Technology Work-Life
ME200/ME210X/ME211/ME270/ME271 Master Thesis, Organization and Management

I would be particularly interested in supervising master thesis students with projects on topics related to the intertwinement of gender, technology, science and/or organizations. Possible themes could be the gendering of (new) technology, gender (in)equality of technology workplaces, etc. Please contact me if you are interested in discussing possible ideas for a master thesis project.


Gender Structures and Gender Equality in Technology Work-Life (ME1037), teacher, course responsible | Course web

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