RECLAIMING THE ‘SMART’ STREET

The comforting hum of electric pavements in dappled green light; children on bikes harmoniously playing in verdant shade; ideal human encounters amongst exquisitely choreographed traffic; local producers and artisanal craftspeople, life lived at a human speed and scale; noise and fumes abated to a distanced memory…

[workshop] London Observatory: RECLAIMING THE  ‘SMART’ STREET
Manu Luksch, Mukul Patel and Yasmine Boudiaf
Science Gallery London, Tue 21 May 10 a.m. – 12 noon
free entry; register here on eventbrite

The ‘smart’ street and its users harbour massive amounts of data and computation (‘AI’) that is deployed by public and private entities for multiple purposes in often opaque ways. As part of the London Observatory, we invite you to this workshop to reclaim the street as a site that is citizen-centred: please join us to rethink the concepts of ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’.

The widescreen glow of an ultradynamic highway whose lanes and islands and junctions morph liquidly as transport pods navigate smoothly, efficiently, at speed to their destinations; platoons cruising through an ocean of data, negotiating routes with their neighbours; a murmuration of machine companions whose dance is unfathomably complex to human eyes, yet manages to deliver each passenger to their destination without a component out of place…

– how do you imagine the street of the future? Where does AI feature – and where shouldn’t it feature – in this future?

Over the last decade, the street has emerged as one of the primary sites where everyday publics encounter AI.  This workshop, hosted by the Science Gallery, will be led by Mukul Patel and Manu Luksch as part of the research project “AI in the Street”, will explore the messy reality of AI in the street and the data infrastructure that it is now entangled with.

Manu Luksch is an artist and filmmaker who interrogates the social, political and ecological ramifications of technology-based notions of progress. Mukul Patel is an intermedia artist whose practice spans writing, computation and installation, alongside composing for dance, film and environments. Luksch and Patel both conduct research at the Laboratory for Artificial Intelligence in Design, Royal College of Art.
Yasmine Boudiaf is an Algerian creative technologist and researcher. Formerly at the Ada Lovelace Institute, she was recognised as one of ‘100 Brilliant Women in AI Ethics 2022’.

This workshop is conducted as part of the London Observatory for AI in the Street, a collaborative project funded under the AHRC BRAID (Bridging Responsible AI Divides) programme and organised by King’s College London.

AI in the street explores how everyday publics perceive and engage with AI at a primary site – city streets – where specific transformations, benefits, harms and (ir)responsibilities of AI in society can be made visible for both publics and stakeholders. A collaboration between universities and a variety of non-academic partners, AI in the street evaluates and trials street-level observatories of AI in four diverse UK cities—Cambridge, Coventry, London and Edinburgh. The wider aim is to ground understandings of AI in lived experiences.