Teaming up on Artificial Intelligence: Interdisciplinary Research, Epistemology, and the Place of Theory

Authors: Jamie Winders*, Syracuse University
Topics: Digital Geographies
Keywords: artificial intelligence, methods, epistemology, interdisciplinary
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 47
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Artificial intelligence is the subject of research in nearly all fields, yet its place vis-à-vis academic disciplines remains unclear. Sometimes linked to computer science and engineering, increasingly linked to fields like law, philosophy, and public policy, and reshaping disciplines from public health and medicine to social work and demography, artificial intelligence, as both a topic of study and a research tool, is reshaping both the practice and the landscape of academic scholarship. The incorporation of artificial intelligence into existing disciplines raises questions of methodology and epistemology. Does artificial intelligence, as a force shaping the world around us or a research tool shaping how we see and understand that world, necessitate changes in the methods used by human geographers? Equally important, does it change how we come to understand – and, thus, study – that world? These questions about epistemology and methodology become even more complex in the study of artificial intelligence, since much research on the topic is highly interdisciplinary, creating a complicated interplay not only between artificial intelligence and existing methodological and epistemological questions in a given discipline like geography but also between disciplines engaging these questions related to how artificial intelligence changes their methodological and theoretical practices. This presentation examines this complex interdisciplinary mix as disciplines and fields ‘team up’ on artificial intelligence.

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