3 Nov 2023 17:00-19:00 The Diamond Room, Cripps Court, Selwyn College Grange Road Cambridge CB3 9DQ


The Ethico-Politics of Design Toolkits: The Case of Responsible AI

Speaker: Dr Tomasz Hollanek


Design toolkits have recently begun to proliferate as a means for translating high-level principles (such as transparency or fairness) into design practice – in general, and in the development of artificial intelligence (AI) in particular. Numerous tech companies, research teams, and civil society groups continue to release ethical, responsible, or inclusive AI design toolkits to – as their creators argue – guide digital technology designers in the challenge of reorienting practice towards socially desirable outcomes. But is this challenge actually ‘kitifiable’?

Considering the longer history of toolkitting as a method for organising and standardising the design process, in this talk Tomasz Hollanek asks: What kind of ethico-political assumptions inform the creation of most design toolkits for responsible AI? What alternatives, driven by a more radical politics, have already emerged? How does a toolkit structure relations between different actors involved in the design process? Who is actually included? What kind of outcomes does it enable and what sort of results does it foreclose? How can the act of ‘toolkitting’ become a site for translation – between disciplines – and negotiation – between different political goals? And finally, how can we ethically design an ethical design toolkit



Tomasz Hollanek is a design and technology ethics researcher with a background in cultural studies, philosophy, UX design, and communications. Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI) at the University of Cambridge and a Research Associate at Jesus College, Cambridge. His work on critical design and AI ethics was featured in top peer-reviewed journals, including AI & Society and Design Issues, and popular magazines such as Aeon/Psyche. Tomasz’s ongoing research explores the possibility of reconciling human-centric technology design principles with the goals of sustainable and restorative design for a more-than-human world. Previously, Tomasz was a Vice-Chancellor’s PhD Scholar at Cambridge and a Visiting Research Fellow at the École normale supérieure in Paris. He has contributed to numerous research projects, including the Global AI Narratives Project at LCFI and the Ethics of Digitalization research program at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

This seminar will be held in person and followed by a drinks reception. All tickets are free. Find the Diamond Room at Selwyn College on the Cambridge University map. Find more information about access here.

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