Artificial Intelligence in a Structurally Unjust Society

Feminist Philosophy Quarterly (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Increasing concerns have been raised regarding artificial intelligence (AI) bias, and in response, efforts have been made to pursue AI fairness. In this paper, we argue that the idea of structural injustice serves as a helpful framework for clarifying the ethical concerns surrounding AI bias—including the nature of its moral problem and the responsibility for addressing it—and reconceptualizing the approach to pursuing AI fairness. Using AI in healthcare as a case study, we argue that AI bias is a form of structural injustice that exists when AI systems interact with other social factors to exacerbate existing social inequalities, making some groups of people more vulnerable to undeserved burdens while conferring unearned benefits to others. The goal of AI fairness, understood this way, is about pursuing a more just social structure with the development and usage of AI systems when appropriate. We further argue that all participating agents in the unjust social structure associated with AI bias bear a shared responsibility to join collective action with the goal of reforming the social structure, and we provide a list of practical recommendations for agents in various social positions to contribute to this collective action.

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Ting-An Lin
Stanford University

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