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About SILS, AI and Knowledge Work

For ninety years, the School of Information and Library Science had been educating information professionals who work across industrial, business, and public service sectors. Information and knowledge work has changed and adapted over this time and as SILS looks forward to the next century of research and development in information and knowledge work, we aim to explore potential catalyst for the future and trajectories for adapting our programs and emphases. Many of the changes of the past century were driven by technical developments and most contemporary environmental scans suggest that advances in the collection of technologies included under the umbrella concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ will significantly affect information and knowledge work in the immediate decades ahead. Changes in this type of work have also spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced new models of remote work, and the lessons and reflections will likely accelerate long-term effects. As part of our effort to understand these issues, a year-long conference that frames the potential effects of these advances will address status and possibilities and key questions such as:

  • How are scientists, consultants, artists, journalists, designers, curators and other knowledge workers using advanced technologies to amplify and augment how they create and manage new information and knowledge?
  • How are these new ways of working affecting the form and functions(nature) of their work, their organizations, and the ways these creators and problems solvers view themselves and their fields?
  • What kinds of effects are these applications of AI in knowledge work having on creative fields, knowledge management and more broadly on human progress?
  • What kinds of educational initiatives should be considered and implemented to meet the challenges of changing knowledge work?

These are broad questions and we will focus on those most directly pertinent to an information school:

  • Discovery and innovation
  • Content analysis
  • Culture and memory curation
  • Communication