Understanding Contestability on the Margins: Implications for the Design of Algorithmic Decision-making in Public Services

Naveena Karusala, Sohini Upadhyay, Rajesh Veeraraghavan, and Krzysztof Z. Gajos



Policymakers have established accessible forms of contestability as core to responsible AI. However, there is a disconnect between the literature in HCI and AI on contestation and what the situated practice of contestation looks like in contexts across the world, amongst communities on the margins. We address this gap through a qualitative study of follow-up and contestation in availing free land and housing in rural India and affordable housing in the urban United States. We draw on the notion of accompaniment in global health, to highlight the open-ended work of supporting people in navigating violent social systems. We find there are significant barriers to exercising rights and contesting decisions, which intermediaries like NGO workers or lawyers accompany communities through. We discuss how sociotechnical systems of algorithms in public services can embody accompaniment---for example, systems might cultivate awareness of legal defenses or take on a high burden of communicating important information.

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Naveena Karusala, Sohini Upadhyay, Rajesh Veeraraghavan, and Krzysztof Z. Gajos. Understanding contestability on the margins: Implications for the design of algorithmic decision-making in public services. In Proceedings of CHI'24, 2024.