Fairness in Flux: The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Reconfiguring Ethical Values



While the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has sparked debates about its role in supporting or threatening ethical values like fairness, few studies have attended to how values are shaped by AI. Building on a three-year ethnography of a large international company introducing AI-based hiring, we focus on unpacking the role of AI in addressing fairness concerns. We find that the use of AI in hiring did not improve nor degrade fairness but instead reconfigured what was understood as fair over time: from an abstract ideal to a settlement between technical definitions and informal understandings. This shift occurred as the AI technology breached and revealed practitioners’ informal understandings of fairness, resulting in new opportunities to renegotiate its meaning and performance in the workplace. This study illustrates the importance of taking a practice perspective on ethical values and the need to attend to the role of AI technology in reconfiguring them. 

Zoom link: https://eur-nl.zoom.us/j/91467622853