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AI Design across Cultures

DECUR Partnership

Co-Principal Investigators: Scott Jarvis and Gwyneth Sutherlin

AI Design across Cultures: cognitive linguistics describes ethical implications

Program: DECUR Partnership

Co-Principal Investigators: Scott Jarvis, University of Utah and Gwyneth Sutherlin, National Defense University

Years of Award: 2023–2025

Managing Service Agency: OSD Minerva

Project Description: 
This 2-year DECUR project seeks to examine cultural variation in the core components of AI that mirror cognitive processes using methods from cognitive linguistics in order to observe cognitive variation through the use of language. In particular, this project will ask research questions in two areas: Phase 1 will explore what elements are variable across cultures for AI development and use. Phase 2 will describe the implications of these variations in terms of ethical considerations that would be significant for national defense. This project merges Dr. Jarvis’ expertise in cognitive linguistics and bilingual human subject experimentation with Dr. Sutherlin’s work in AI ethics across cultures. NDU will facilitate stakeholder engagement of primary AI users including the Joint MISO WebOps Center at USSOCOM and J39 global operations at USINDOPACOM ensuring application to National Defense Strategy 1 priorities. The dialog between these teams to develop the experimental design, including an in-depth problem exploration, methods development, and scenario selection will ensure a stronger connection to national defense objectives along with refined scientific knowledge gains beyond what the conventional request for research can deliver. Additionally, the development of a shared lexicon and analytic perspectives may facilitate future research that prioritizes basic social science around culture in technical and national security spaces.

Select Publications:
Jarvis, S. (2007). Theoretical and methodological issues in the investigation of conceptual transfer. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics (VIAL), 4, 43–71.
Jarvis, S. (2011). Conceptual transfer: Crosslinguistic effects in categorization and construal. Bilingualism: Lang. Cognit. 14 (1).
Jarvis, S. (2016). Clarifying the scope of conceptual transfer. Lang. Learn. 66 (3), 608–635.
Jarvis, S. (in press). Conceptual transfer: Its roots, assumptions, and current scope. Language, Interaction, and Acquisition, [volume, issue, and pagination pending].
Jarvis, S., & Pavlenko, A. (2008). Crosslinguistic influence in language and cognition. New York: Routledge.
Park, H.I., Jarvis, S., & Kim, J.E. (2022). Exploring motion event construal: How much attention do speakers of different languages and cultures pay to context? Lingua, 265, 103164.
Pavlenko, A., Jarvis, S., Melnyk, S., & Sorokina, A. (2017). Communicative relevance: Color references in bilingual and trilingual speakers. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20(4), 853-866. doi:10.1017/S1366728916000535.
Sutherlin, G. 2014. The Myth of the Universal User-- Pursuing a Cultural Variable in ICT Design for Conflict Management through Quantitative Analysis: Implications from a Ugandan Case Study. PhD Thesis. University of Bradford.
Sutherlin, G. (2018). "Groupthink: Training New Technologies to See That Humans Don’t All Think Alike." In M. Yager (Ed.), What Do Others Think and How Do We Know What They Are Thinking?  Department of Defense, Joint Staff.  
Sutherlin, G. 2020.  ""War of the Ghosts”: How We Think Through Information Technology Across Cultures.” In V. Walker & S. Finley (Eds.), Teaching Public Diplomacy and the Information Instruments of Power in a Complex Media Environment. United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.