Beyond ‘AI for Social Good’ (AI4SG): social transformations—not tech-fixes—for health equity

Many Artificial Intelligence for Social Good (AI4SG) initiatives are shaped by the same corporate entities that incubate AI technologies, beyond democratic control, and stand to profit monetarily from their deployment. Such initiatives often pre-frame systemic social and environmental problems in tech-centric ways, while suggesting that addressing such problems hinges on more or better data. They thereby perpetuate incomplete, distorted models of social change that claim to be ‘data-driven’.

In the process, AI4SG initiatives may obscure or ‘ethics wash’ all the other uses of big data analytics and AI that more routinely serve private interests and exacerbate social inequalities. In this report in Interdisciplinary Science Review, Cheryl Holtzmeyer discusses the prominence of health-related applications in AI and big data fields, alongside the politics of more ‘upstream’ versus ‘downstream’ health interventions. Read more