Welcome to Library AI

Algorithmic decision-making arising from machine learning is ubiquitous, powerful, often opaque, sometimes invisible, and (most importantly) consequential in our everyday lives.

Machine learning (ML) is critically important for libraries because it offers new tools for knowledge organization and knowledge discovery. It also, however, presents significant challenges with respect to fairness, accountability, and transparency.

I believe that artificial intelligence will become a major human rights issue in the twenty-first century.

Safiya Noble (2018). Algorithms of Oppression.

This blog will attempt to chart ML developments and issues in libraries and to identify trends in the wider AI community that impact libraries.

“The danger is not so much in delegating cognitive tasks, but in distancing ourselves from – or in not knowing about – the nature and precise mechanisms of that delegation”

de Mul & van den Berg (2011). Remote control: Human autonomy in the age of computer-mediated agency.

Libraries have often been instrumental in championing new technologies and making them more accessible. As we adopt and develop ML tools and services, something I think is an imperative if we are to advance our mission, we also need to be aware of the emerging “new digital divide”:

A class of people who can use algorithms and a class used by algorithms.

David Lankes (Director, SLIS, Univ. of Southern Carolina).

Looking forward to this journey. Let me know what you think.

…Mike