‘Right now? I will take any future’: Documenting moments in AI futures in a time of crisis

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The role of technology can affect the way we view the social world and our ability to imagine futures
within it. Some claim that technology has the capacity to shift the ground from which our imagination
is exercised and that this is crucial in how future possibilities and limits are viewed (Simmel, 2010).
Considering the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI), there is a chance that now is such a time when
multiple crises and social upheaval give rise to new narratives and ideas about what might be
In this piece, we present analysis of (n=25) thought leaders and scholars in AI and AI Futures
conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic 2020, which points to a similar view: that crisis impacts AI
‘imaginaries’ and future sense-making is shaped by the stories we tell about AI (Felt 2017). We
explore AI possibilities (Amoore 2013) and priorities through the situated future imaginaries of our
participants to think about how a shifting present creates a changing sense of the technological future.
In particular we note how “unimaginable” that AI future seems to the participants.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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