DEI4EAI Workshop 2: Embodied AI & Ableism

20 October 2021 14:00 till 17:30 - Location: TU/e campus and online

Registration deadline: 19 October 2021, any time on Earth

In this half-a-day workshop, we are going to learn more about ableism in embodied AI, together with experts, practitioners, colleagues, and societal stakeholders. We will use methods from critical design to 1) create a hands-on understanding of our current practices and narrative 2) compile a concrete, desirable future scenario, providing practical pointers to implement design processes with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind.

State of the world. 

Ableism can be defined as discrimination against disabled people in favor of non-disabled people. Notions of ableism in embodied AI are intertwined with how we see 'bodies'. Whether it be bodies as represented in design of social robots, or bodies to which AI systems refer to, or are trained on in general; they nearly always refer to 'fully abled bodies'. However, what should be defined as 'abled bodies' is up for discussion as there are as many bodies as there are people, all with different historicity and lived experiences.

In ableist thinking there is a tendency to think in terms of curing or fixing disabilities, a view which makes disability an individual issue, with the disabled person being solely responsible. Studying, questioning, and designing embodied AI systems with from a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion perspective requires moving away from ableist notions of curing or fixing disability, to ways of thinking that do justice to the diversity of bodies. Close collaboration with communities and individuals that identify as disabled persons is key her


We will co-shape future scenarios of DEI practices that are tangible and will help us in our everyday practices. Outcomes might be compiled in an academic publication and in a zine magazine.