Emerging technologies such as 3D printing, data analytics and robotics, to mention a few, are not just evolving; they are becoming intelligent, interconnected, and constitutive elements of organising practices. These innovative technologies, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), hold immense potential for organisations across industries and society. What sets them apart is their constant evolution and adaptability, both in their uncertain design, use, and effects, which are always in flux. They are constantly acquiring, sharing, and analysing vast real-time unstructured datasets to operate autonomously or collaborate with humans in ways that seem intentional (Bailey et al., 2022). This long abstract presents an initial framework for unpacking the black box of sociomaterial agencies that are performing intelligent AI drones. To do so, we build on longitudinal ethnographic empirical data gathered over two years on an exemplary case: a modularised ecosystem of AI-coordinated drones. In this ecosystem, drones are designed to work flexibly and adaptably, with each drone performing a specific task based on the system's needs. These drones collect, analyse, and mobilise complex real-time data sets to “intelligently” coordinate logistical and commercial parcel deliveries through embedded sensors. The paper contributes to the underexplored scholarly debates on intelligent automation's broader societal and ethical implications by exploring how autonomously coordinated technologies guided by AI perform intelligent decision-making practices responsibly. We also offer an 'artifactual' perspective on data where data is viewed as a product of human sociomaterial practices rather than objective facts. This understanding has significant implications for the responsible design and use of AI. Finally, our research aims to inform practitioners and policymakers about the safe delivery of drone technology for delivery services and (para)-military activities while examining the potential benefits AI technologies can bring to such endeavours.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReshaping Work 2024 Conference Proceedings
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Jun 2024
EventReshaping Work Conference 2024: AI @ Work - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 23 Oct 202424 Oct 2024


ConferenceReshaping Work Conference 2024
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