Designing AI as a Social Entity

As machines now acquire more agency in our societies, we need to build settings of transparency and mechanisms for scrutinizing, contesting, and justifying their decisions in ways similar to how human-made decisions can be scrutinized and corrected when needed. These social processes and structures of deliberation are fundamental to the democratic order in our societies. Thus we need to include them also in the design of machine agents and their ecosystems.

In this workshop we will look into some possible ways of including social lenses into the design of AI systems, to complement the usual lenses of business and technology. When the design process and its decisions take place within the social system of economy and business, as often is the case, decisions to enhance social sustainability need economic justifications to be effective.

So we will also combine human and social values/argumentation with those of business impact (to articulate the business value of social sustainability). Together the workshop participants will learn from the diversity of participants’ different backgrounds and how it affects the ways in which we reflect and recognise relevant aspects to designing AI systems as social entities.

Workshop attendees will:

  • learn about possible ways of and frameworks for taking into account the human and social impact of (autonomous) technology,
  • collectively demonstrate and learn the importance of diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints in design, and
  • learn to robustly combine different realms of value.

Who should attend this workshop

This workshop is for anyone curious how the social sciences can contribute to the design of autonomous (AI) systems in ways that consider their social implications. We warmly welcome people with wildly varied backgrounds, expertise, and with any level of experience.

Workshop Leaders

Anna Metsäranta, AI Business Designer
Anna has worked with data, analytics, and software development for the past 15+ years, with a focus on AI in the last three years. She works as a Business AI Lead in Solita’s Design & Strategy unit. Anna has a particular interest in integrating methods of design into AI system development for driving sustainable value creation.

Anni Ojajärvi, Ethnographer
Anni has a PhD in sociology and has specialized in ethnography both in academia and in business. She works in Solita’s Design & Strategy unit. Her expertise is combining applied social sciences to service design, strategy building, branding and organizational change. Her passion is to help organizations use human sciences to make better decisions. Anni is a founder of an association to promote this agenda (Human Sciences in Strategy).

Antti Rannisto, Ethnographer
Antti is a sociologist and ethnographer at Solita’s Design & Strategy unit. For the past 10+ years he has worked with applied social science in service design, organisational change, brands and marketing. You can read more of his writing on his blog In Situ and reach him on Twitter.

Lasse Girs, Data Business Designer
Lasse is a former marketeer and data analyst with 15+ years experience of working with data, analytics & AI across the globe. He works in Solita’s Design & Strategy unit helping organizations work with data and AI in sustainable and purposeful ways.

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  • Leaders: Anna Metsäranta, Anni Ojajärvi, Antti Rannisto, and Lasse Girs. (Solita)
  • Date: Monday 12 October
  • Time: 14:30-16:30 EEST (Helsinki), 12:30-14:30 BST (London)
  • Who should attend: Anyone curious how the social sciences can contribute to the design of autonomous (AI) systems.
  • Number of attendees: Up to 40.


This workshop is free to A+T 2020 delegates who have purchased a ticket, on a first-come, first served basis. Have your Ticket Number handy (you will find this on your e-ticket).

By registering, you agree to your name, organisation, and email being passed to the workshop leader(s) for the purposes of communicating with you about this workshop.