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Robot takeover? Analyzing human and technological agency in automated decision-making in social services

Conference contribution
Authors Agneta Ranerup
Helle Zinner Henriksen
Published in 16th Scandinavian Workshop on e-Government, January 30-31, University of South-Eastern Norway
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Links https://gup.ub.gu.se/file/207645
Keywords E-government; automated design-making; robotic process automation; social services, Actor Network-Theory
Subject categories Public Administration Studies, Information Systems, Social aspects, Social Work

Abstract

This article analyzes human and technological agency in an innovative case of automated decision-making in social services. The research questions are: 1) How does professional, citizen and technological agency appear in routines with digitalization and automated decision-making in social services? 2) How can this layout of human and technological agency be characterized in terms of digital discretion and its aspired values and desired effects? A first conclusion is that human and technological agency appear in form of a repertoire of civil servants and technologies interacting with clients. A second conclusion is that many aspects of Ethical, Democratic and Professional discretion are relevant in digitalization and automated decision-making in social services. However, our tentative analysis indicates that in spite of civil servant participation in development and case-handling, the parts where they have a strong position in terms of digital discretion are somewhat reduced or changed through the technological development.

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