CfP: Generative AI Governance: Innovations, Institutions, Imaginaries

Special Issue in Information, Communication & Society.

Special Issue Editors:

Fabian Ferrari, Utrecht University, f.l.ferrari@uu.nl 

Joanne Kuai, Karlstad University, joanne.kuai@kau.se

From democratic to authoritarian contexts, governments worldwide face the challenge of setting up oversight mechanisms for generative AI systems. The European Union recently reached an agreement for the proposed EU AI Act. A few months earlier, China had enacted one of the first laws in the world to regulate generative AI systems. Navigating this global policy landscape is challenging, not only due to differences between regulatory regimes but also because of the fast pace at which new variations of generative AI systems are developed.

However, the governance of generative AI systems is not only a task for governments and regulators – it also occurs at the workplace and the institutional level. For example, in the 2023 Hollywood labor disputes, the use of generative AI systems featured prominently. Such developments signify a need for a new understanding of generative AI governance, expanding its scope beyond a narrow focus on regulatory frameworks. As such, this special issue asks: How does the landscape of generative AI governance shape the discursive and material dimensions of generative AI systems, and what are the underlying factors influencing this development?

To address this question, the special issue invites contributions that cover a wide cultural and geographical range of case studies or comparative studies. Given that the governance of generative AI systems is a globally interconnected phenomenon, engagements with regional, national, and supranational forms of generative AI governance are encouraged. Potential empirical entry points include but are not limited to:

  •  Assessing the efficacy of designated AI oversight measures (e.g., risk assessments, audit procedures, red-teaming) in light of swiftly evolving material properties of generative AI systems.
  •  Examining strategies of generative AI providers to shape and influence governance regimes – for example, through research, lobbying, tool development, and terms of use/usage policies.
  • Understanding how institutional dynamics in particular sectors and cultural industries (e.g., journalism, education, entertainment) shape the design, use and effects of generative AI systems.
  • Comparing how governance regimes observe, inspect and modify generative AI systems (e.g., China’s central algorithm registry vs. the EU’s proposed database for high-risk AI systems).
  • Investigating how sociotechnical imaginaries about generative AI (e.g., perceived “existential risks”) inform the design, content and enforcement of particular regulatory frameworks.
  • Connecting considerations about the global political economy of AI to geopolitical issues about digital sovereignty, as illustrated by US export controls for specific AI chips.

Submission Instructions and Timeline

Please submit an abstract of 500-800 words (including references) to f.l.ferrari@uu.nl and joanne.kuai@kau.se no later than 15 February 2024. The abstract should specify 1) the problem or question being addressed, 2) the paper’s methodological or analytical approach, and 3) the anticipated results or conclusions of the research. Decisions about the selection of abstracts will be communicated to authors by 15 March 2024. The deadline for submitting invited papers is 31 August 2024.

The special issue will follow the submission and review guidelines of Information, Communication & Society (see Instructions for Authors). Each invited paper will be peer-reviewed. An invitation to submit a full paper does not automatically ensure its acceptance in the special issue or the journal. For questions, please reach out via email to the guest editors.