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Unlike the technologies that have fuelled past industrial revolutions, AI is made possible by a resource - data - that largely comes from us, as we go about our daily lives. This unlocks rich possibilities:

  • Participatory, bottom-up infrastructure can empower a variety of groups to shape socially sustainable, data-reliant futures.
  • Upon deployment, interfaces that incentivise long-term participation are not only key to data-reliant tools positively impacting diverse forms of civic engagement. They are also key to emerging forms of collective agency that will have a transformative social and economic impact upon civil society.
a diagram depicting the cycle of data futures

As we stand at a pivotal point in the rapidly unfolding ‘AI revolution’, the Centre for Data Futures' focus on participatory infrastructure throughout the life of data-reliant tools reflects two key convictions:

  • If we are to be the authors of a variety of socially-sustainable, data-reliant futures, data needs to become a tool for bottom-up socio-economic and political empowerment.
  • Disciplinary boundaries have contributed to impoverished approaches to human-computer interaction design, which typically proceed from overly narrow understandings of agency. By bringing together research that stretches from the humanities to computer science, via law, medicine and education, the Centre aims to answer real-world needs while at the same time advancing cutting-edge research questions.


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