What AI researchers read: the role of literature in artificial intelligence research
This paper presents the results of a pilot interview study investigating the leisure reading habits of twenty practising AI researchers based in the United Kingdom. The interview analysis yields six areas in which literature plays a role in the field of AI: research focus, career choice, community formation, science communication, ethical thinking, and modelling of sociotechnical futures. These categories are proposed as the basis of a systematic taxonomy of the role of literature in AI research, evidencing literature’s significance in AI laboratory and professional cultures. The paper presents the results of this preliminary investigation in combination with a synthesis of existing evidence in each category of influence. The aim of this hybrid approach is to cohere research and evidence in this relatively new area of study, and to present new findings contextually, in order to provide the foundations for further qualitative and quantitative research.