The Concept of Agency in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: Dimensions and DegreesRahul De’, Sai Dattathrani
Journal: Information Systems Frontiers
Abstract: Human and material agency have been investigated in the IS literature to understand how technology and humans influence each other. Some framings of agency treat humans and technology symmetrically, some privilege the agency of humans over technology, and others do not attribute agency to either humans or non-humans. The authors argue that with the new generation of technologies, such as AI, the notion of agency needs to differentiate between the actions of AI from that of traditional information systems and humans. The authors introduce the dimensions of agency to differentiate agencies while not privileging any actor. They illustrate the application of dimensions by using it as a lens to study the case of a technician using an AI solution for screening patients for early-stage breast cancer. Through the use of the dimensions of agency, the authors illustrate how the influence of AI over human practice, such as screening for early-stage breast cancer, is higher than the influence of traditional technology. They discuss their contribution to the theory of agency and conclude with a discussion on potential practical applications of the framework.