Is the emergence of a subfield of psychology, "psychology of artificial intelligence", possible and necessary? If so, what questions it will address and will try to solve?

Possibly, it could also emerge as a new branch of engineering psychology, due to the fact that engineering psychology handles the realms of interactions between humans and machines, as well as human factors in general.


And by trying to answer my own question, and how I see it, yes - there is some requirement like it stated in this particular article: https://medium.com/womeninai/psychology-of-artificial-intelligence-ca0f0a9f3d7c

Because yes - there are multiple occurrences of an AI being biased, hateful, racist, sexist, etc.

Also, humans themselves tend to act towards an AI in the insolent ways, so the human factor also needed to be accounted for.

So yeah - I think it will be a branch, or an extension of an engineering psychology, which exactly addresses primarily a human factor and relationships between the human and a machine.

But other than that it will address the factors of how should it be built, how we can expect it to behave, and how should it behave, because it should follow the strict moral code, to be not the threat to us.


That assumes that a psyche to study will be identifiable in artificially intelligent computing machinery. If we assume that, then it makes sense that psychology for these intelligences may diverge from the study of the human psyche, since the result of AI research won't necessarily produce a detailed simulation of normal human psycho-social characteristics but rather something similar.

To start this new fork of psychology, we'd need AI more sophisticated than current AI which some consider little more than pattern matching and surface fitting. THe critics of the AI hype would say, "We need a new branch of AI first. Then a new branch of psychology might be needed to promote AI mental health."

When the interaction between humans and machines enters the picture, the topic is not necessarily psychology but cybernetics. We can study the computer reaction to humans and the human reaction to computers. Neil Postman's Technopoly was one of the early works. Even the books about the psychological complications resulting from industrialization touched on the beginnings of the effects of automation.

The AI reaction to humans is the side of the question's proposal that hasn't received much attention and maybe should. Just a simple example illustrates. How does a deep network respond to a change in personnel training it, with different methodology in preparation of data and the tweaking of hyper-parameters? Will they perform poorly at first, as they adjust? What is the actual mechanism of adjustment, if any exist?

It's a little out there at this point, but not so as robotics develops further.

Will an AV get disoriented if sold to a new owner in a different location? Will any location dependent training need to be reset? Will household robotics be like cats, where they hide and react oddly when the owner moves to a new house or apartment?

If so, what questions it will address and will try to solve?

  • $\begingroup$ I believe it won't be a study of an AI, but rather how humans act towards the AI, and how it should act in response, the human factor, the ways of engineering the AI, etc. That's why I am pointing this new study to be a branch of the engineering psychology, which itself isn't a study about the psychology of the engineers nor the machines, but it is a study of human interaction with the machines and the human factor itself in general. $\endgroup$
    – Xeizzeth
    Oct 22 '18 at 16:08

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