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New York, United States — photo by @trapnation

Collaboration Between Computer Science, Social Science and Humanities

Creating a Module on AI in Society that Allows for Collaboration

There is a lot of talk of interdisciplinary collaboration or transdisciplinarity. Therefore I thought it would be good to explore these terms. First recognising as an anthropologist that these terms are likely not as neat as they are presented. However we can look at these and how they are perceived.

  1. Interdisciplinarity
  2. Transdisciplinary
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An index of problem difficulty matched with best research approaches. Diagram credit: Modified from nature. com by Emily Nastase featured here

Collaborative Moments

Kirsten Hastrup talk of cross-disciplinarity in fusing different styles of reasoning by: “integrating the points of view and unspoken certainties of their partners in the field into their analysis.”

Macy Conferences

One such moment that is often considered important is the Macy Conferences or “Cybernetics. Circular, Causal, and Feedback Mechanisms in Biological and Social Systems” (one could understand why Macy was easier). It was a collaborative moment that is attributed with a contribution to the advancement of technologies we consider important today such as the Internet and systems theory.

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Transdisciplinary Practice

Practice does vary across regions, places, people and such even locally within a building. In the academic environment where I am situated it is not shameful to say that some floors operate almost in complete isolation from one another with a few exceptions.


A module that is structured as a collaboration between computer science, social science and humanities has to be structured in a way that creates the opportunity for different collaborative moments. In a way the strength of different students as academics as well as practitioners may shine through, however it requires facilitation. It must be structured in such a way that firstly brings in different students from different backgrounds, so this must be recruited for — and as well make it so that the working topics are structured in a constructive manner. There are disciplinary boundaries that those present are situated within, but with knowledge — knowing the edge of one’s familiar disciplinary territory and crossing it.

Written by

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.

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