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Social Work, Artificial Intelligence, and Ethics


Graduate School of Social Service Associate Professor Lauri Goldkind, Ph.D., recently published an article that explores the relationship between social work and artificial intelligence.

The article, titled “Social Work and Artificial Intelligence: Into the Matrix,” was published on July 19 in Social Work. Goldkind asserts that, as a profession, social work must “claim a place in AI design and development,” to ensure this technology is implemented with ethical and just practices in mind.

From the article’s abstract:

Social work scholars have been interested in implementing a range of artificial intelligence (AI) tools for at least twenty years, from neural networks in child welfare for triaging caseloads to predicting recidivism in juvenile justice (Patterson & Cloud, 1999; Brodzinski, Crable, & Scherer, 1994).  However, algorithmically enhanced projects and many of the practice improvements have remained largely a fringe phenomenon in social work praxis.  While AI offers a panoply of opportunities to improve the human condition, AI tools simultaneously present significant moral, ethical and policy challenges. As AI proliferates across all sectors of industry, social work must claim a place in AI design and development, working to ensure that AI mechanisms are created, imagined, and implemented to be congruent with ethical and just practice.


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