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Full paper on "Critical-Reflective Human-AI Collaboration" is published

News from Oct 06, 2023

We are pleased to announce that our paper "Critical-Reflective Human-AI Collaboration: Exploring Computational Tools for Art Historical Image Retrieval" by Katrin Glinka and Claudia Müller-Birn was published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 2023.


Just as other disciplines, the humanities explore how computational research approaches and tools can meaningfully contribute to scholarly knowledge production. Building on related work from the areas of CSCW and HCI, we approach the design of computational tools through the analytical lens of 'human-AI collaboration.' Such work investigates how human competencies and computational capabilities can be effectively and meaningfully combined. However, there is no generalizable concept of what constitutes 'meaningful' human-AI collaboration. In terms of genuinely human competencies, we consider criticality and reflection as guiding principles of scholarly knowledge production and as deeply embedded in the methodologies and practices of the humanities. Although (designing for) reflection is a recurring topic in CSCW and HCI discourses, it has not been centered in work on human-AI collaboration. We posit that integrating both concepts is a viable approach to supporting 'meaningful' human-AI collaboration in the humanities and other qualitative, interpretivist, and hermeneutic research areas. Our research, thus, is guided by the question of how critical reflection can be enabled in human-AI collaboration. We address this question with a use case that centers on computer vision (CV) tools for art historical image retrieval. Specifically, we conducted a qualitative interview study with art historians to explore a) what potentials and affordances art historians ascribe to human-AI collaboration and CV in particular, and b) in what ways art historians conceptualize critical reflection in the context of human-AI collaboration. We extended the interviews with a think-aloud software exploration. We observed and recorded participants' interaction with a ready-to-use CV tool in a possible research scenario. We found that critical reflection, indeed, constitutes a core prerequisite for 'meaningful' human-AI collaboration in humanities research contexts. However, we observed that critical reflection was not fully realized during interaction with the CV tool. We interpret this divergence as supporting our hypothesis that computational tools need to be intentionally designed in such a way that they actively scaffold and support critical reflection during interaction. Based on our findings, we suggest four empirically grounded design implications for 'critical-reflective human-AI collaboration': supporting reflection on the basis of transparency, foregrounding epistemic presumptions, emphasizing the situatedness of data, and strengthening interpretability through contextualized explanations.

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