Our Work

Knowledge Base



Students and community participants in these projects are encouraged to find and put into words their own reinterpretation of the Lab mission statement. We believe this to be the best way to ensure that the Lab continues to make meaningfully, contextualized changes in those individuals' and their communities' lives.

Project managers are then encouraged to advance their own questions, pioneer their own methods, and/or provide support in public initiatives, all towards one pillar that is the house of their reinterpretation.

After a project has spent a little time "in the wild," it is added to this list.

Research Questions

When we teach AI, whose AI should we teach? Bryan Knowles is researching this as the central question to his dissertation. The Wisconsin in the Information Age report proposes a collaboration between UW-Madison's Information School, Computer Science department, and Statistics department. It would provide a cross-discipline data science curriculum. This proposal is UW-Madison's response to changes in society, technology, and the job market around data and analytics. One learning goal of the collaboration would be to teach ethics in data science. When we teach ethics of technology, whose technology do we mean? Definitions of words as deceptively simple as "innovation" vary from peoples to peoples, as postcolonial critical studies teach us. If we teach only the meaning and skills of AI technologies as defined by one community (such as by those in positions of power, those within Industry, those within education, etc.), or if we fail to teach our students to observe and appreciate competing definitions of AI technology across different locales, then we do our students a disservice. We harm their future ability to make, act upon, adapt, and understand ethical data science decisions. For the PHAI Lab, Bryan is approaching this as a policy problem: What is the status quo, and what are the alternatives?

🙋 How does Kaggle work? The PHAI Lab is seeking a member to study the information seeking behavior of users of Kaggle's Kernels social network / "view source" community, then to provide a thicker description of that behavior with quantitative social network analysis.

Public Initiatives

🙋 "The Gemini Circuit" The PHAI Lab is seeking an affiliate to oversee a public reading series on AI. The literary history of AI is closely related to the literary traditions of Frankenstein and Pinocchio. At meetings for this series, you would invite a speaker to read from a literary work in this area, then lead/facilitate a discussion on what this work or passage says about AI, our relationship with futures and technologies, and being human. We would then close each meeting with a preview of the next reading to be featured on the "circuit," and occasionally invite a generative artist whose work incorporates or collaborates with an AI-as-an-author.