28 April 2022

Reimagining Trustworthy Autonomous Systems with Disabled Young People: Our Project Launch!

As a project team, we’re really excited to announce our project ‘Reimagining trustworthy autonomous systems with disabled young people’.

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Reimagining TAS

As a project team, we’re really excited to announce our project ‘Reimagining trustworthy autonomous systems with disabled young people’. Trustworthy Autonomous Systems in assistive contexts offer the promise of revolutionising the everyday lives of disabled people in their personal lives, education and employment. However, despite such promissory and anticipated futures, disabled people are frequently excluded from STEM education and employment. Further to this, disabled people are also positioned as passive recipients of autonomous systems, with outcomes often resulting in a one size fits all as opposed to a recognition of what it means to be human and our diverse capabilities that accompany this. With this in mind, our project works to confront this through recognising disability not as a condition to be only considered, but recasting disability as a driving subject for leading the way in productive conversations on TAS.

Our project brings together a team of researchers – disabled young people, social scientists, computer scientists, engineers and community partners (Greenacre School and Makerfutures). Together, we’re hoping to unpick, understand and work to rethink what Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS) are, what they mean for our everyday lives, and how, through disability as the way of thinking and driving force, young disabled people can change and lead the way in TAS conversations. We’ll be tackling the questions of ‘trust’, ‘resilience’ and ‘capacity’ and what they mean for us in the context of TAS, together. With our team of disabled co-researchers, we’ll be asking the questions:

  • In what ways can we promote equality, diversity and inclusion in relation to TAS through researching together?
  • How might designing and researching together enable a meaningful engagement, understanding and analysis of TAS?
  • What types of inclusive adaptations require rethinking for TAS to work for us (DYP)?

Central to this is undertaking this project together through co-production – this means that disabled young people are leading, shaping and driving each and every stage of the research process and what comes to be as an outcome of the project. For this project, disabled young people are not solely end users of TAS, but they are the knowledgeimaginationaspirationcreationdesign and production behind it. This builds upon previous collaborations from our researchers on the project, where research was a collective endeavour through principles of co-production (you can find out more about this project via the web page: https://whycantwedream.co.uk).

Though we’ve listed a working project title in this blog post, one of our first activities is defining and branding our project with our disabled young people. We’ll be asking what TAS means to them and how would they like to define, reimagine and own this research project as we take it forward. From this, we’ll be holding creative and artistic workshops where we share stories and histories of TAS in our everyday lives, thinking through ethical, practical and legal challenges and barriers, and identifying how our knowledge can reimagine TAS. We’ll also be taking a tour of the AMRC’s Factory of the Future and the University of York’s Institute for Safe Autonomy to immerse ourselves in the current TAS landscape. We’ll also be working with Maker{spaces} on some exciting workshops where our disabled young people will be makers, adopting the maker{cycle} (look, think, make, try) method. Activities from our makerspace workshops will be showcased later in the year via our websites and events – watch this space! Together, these activities offer really exciting collaborative potential and we look forward to updating you!

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