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2 April 2024, 15:30 - 17:00 CEST / 9:30 - 11:00 EDT 

Catching A.I. Lightning in a Bottle: A Localized and Multi-stakeholder Perspective on Self-regulation around Emergent Technologies


Giulia Cappellaro

Bocconi University

Technological advancement is often characterized by a discrepancy between the fast speed of creating new technologies and the slower pace of governments and regulators’ developing policies to govern such technologies. This “pacing problem” becomes particularly relevant when emergent technologies trigger social, ethical or legal concerns that elude the purview of established formal regulation. Here, a paradox arises: while organizations are eager to embrace technological change, the absence of clarity on how to govern the concerns posed by new technologies hinders their deployment in the everyday professional work, and thus prevents realising the societal benefits brought forward by the technological advancement. Extant theory on self-regulation offers valuable insights to understand voluntary efforts in conditions of weak traditional regulation. However, current empirical research typically focuses on industry- or professional-based centrally orchestrated mechanisms. Less is known about the early moments and the micro dynamics through which actors initiate voluntary self-regulation efforts at the local level. In our 16-month ethnographic study, we examine the process of embedding in routine work an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for oncological treatment at a UK state hospital. We first identify the most pressing concerns triggered by clinical AI deployment, and then conceptualize the locally initiated practices and mechanisms of multi-stakeholder self-regulation around these key concerns. Our study contributes to the literatures on self-regulation and on algorithms in professional organizations.

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