Recently, a new special issue, entitled “Artificial intelligence in the work context” was published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). The special issue focuses on the mutual transformations of AI and work practices. It is edited by the Nordic Centre’s Christoph Lutz, Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi (University of North Carolina), Karen Boyd (San Diego Workforce Partnership), Carsten Østerlund (Syracuse University), and Matthew Willis (University of Michigan).
Artificial Intelligence is a pressing topic
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a pressing topic in today's day and age, with many conversations on how we should approach such technologies. For example, an AI application that has been much discussed lately is ChatGPT, a language model chatbot with the ability to generate human-like text based on the input that it is given. Such and other AI technologies will have significant consequences for our daily lives, including our work practices. Therefore, a frequently asked question with regard to AI is how it will affect work across different domains.
The special issue
AI and work practices are mutually intertwined. The idea of this special issue, in short, is that AI reconfigures work and organization, while work and organization shape AI. In the issue, these mutual transformations are explored, as well as how they play out across industries and occupations. Furthermore, it is important to understand the use of AI in relation to different dimensions of the work context, in order to truly appreciate its transformative power. Key aspects of the work context include regulation and policies, institutional and field logics, global events and historical transitions (e.g., Covid-19) on the macro- and meso-level, as well as changes in work practices on the micro-level, for example how we communicate and work together in groups with AI. The special issue editorial contains an agenda for future research on AI and work, calling for in-depth studies on new divisions of labor between humans and machines, especially in regard to power dynamics, shifting boundaries, and ethics. Interdisciplinary collaborations are particularly encouraged.
Different perspectives on the interplay between work and AI
The special issue presents five articles that offer a set of different and valuable perspectives into the interplay between different work contexts and AI.
- In “Locating the Work of AI Ethics”, Slota, Fleischmann, Greenberg, Verma, Cummings, Li and Shenefiel explore the challenges of anticipating the ethical, legal, and policy implications of AI, by focusing on the work that goes into exploring and understanding these sociotechnical dynamics.
- In “Subgroup formation in human–robot teams: A multistudy mixed-method approach with implications for theory and practice”, You and Robert show that identification, both as robot identification and team identification, has an important role in affecting subgroup in human-robot team formation, as well as teamwork quality.
- In “Artificial intelligence changes the way we work: A close look at innovating with chatbots”, Wang, Lin and Shao investigate disembodied AI in the form of chatbots, showing the crucial role of trust as well as knowledge support and work-life balance in implementing chatbots among employees.
- In “At the crossroads of logics: Automating newswork with AI (Re)defining journalistic logics from the perspective of technologists”, Sirén-Heikel, Kjellman and Lindén show how the logic of AI systems may diverge from, and even mitigate institutionalized norms, practices, and values in journalism, based on an investigation of technologists who develop natural language generation tools for news organizations.
- In “How artificial intelligence (AI) might change academic library work: applying the competencies literature and the theory of the professions”, Cox uses the frameworks of competencies, jurisdiction, and hybridity to outline the potential impacts of AI on librarianship as a profession, especially as it may be applied in knowledge discovery.
Karen Boyd and Matthew Willis have changed their affiliation recently, so their current affiliation does not reflect their affiliation when the special issue was edited. Karen Boyd is now at the San Diego Regional Policy and Innovation Center and Matthew Willis is at First American.