Contestability and Complaint
Contestability broadly refers to the ability for people to disagree, challenge, dispute, or otherwise express their critical concerns. Furthermore, in the field of feminist science and technology studies, complaints are expressions of dissatisfaction, pain, or grief.
Within this dimension of the framework, we envision mechanisms that empower people to voice concerns as testimonies to structural and institutional problems. These concerns can be related to any and all parts of the AI life cycle including data collection, curation, labeling issues, data use, the training of a specific model, algorithmic audits, as well as the sunsetting of models or entire products.
We believe individuals and communities could build and leverage open-source tools in verifying that their concerns are being addressed. For example, we point to the use of computable contracts as a mechanism to verify properties of algorithmic outcomes and enable reporting of algorithmic harm. We see this as a new feedback mechanism between technology companies and civil society stakeholders who have the expertise to take action in helping individuals and communities.
We encourage practitioners to ask: What are institutional barriers for AI builders to meaningfully "hear" complaints? Have you ever provided feedback to an app? Or, if you haven't, what prevented you from providing feedback? After deploying the AI, can you anticipate how potential algorithmic bias might lead to harmful user experiences? After deploying the AI, how would you engage with end users and communities? What would it look like to "hear" and act on user complaints?
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