A Habermasian Approach to Fair Processes in AI Algorithms

Khensani Xivuri, Hossana Twinomurinzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The traditional emphasis of fairness in AI algorithms tends towards developing fair standards, even though the field of AI and its subfields advance rapidly and creatively, meaning that any AI fair standards could similarly become obsolete rapidly. This paper argues rather for an emphasis on fair processes that are adaptable to AI’s continuous creations and innovations. Specifically, we adapt Jurgen Habermas’ critical theory of communication, the lifeworld and meaning to develop a process framework for AI algorithmic fairness. The framework engages logical-semantic, procedural and performative rules that can be applied to avoid power imbalances and domination by any entity or individual before, during and after AI algorithm development. The framework is applied to the recent case of the biased Twitter image cropping algorithm, which focused on white faces and women’s chests but cropped out black faces.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtificial Intelligence Research - 2nd Southern African Conference, SACAIR 2021, Proceedings
EditorsEdgar Jembere, Aurona J. Gerber, Serestina Viriri, Anban Pillay
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783030950699
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Event2nd Southern African Conference on Artificial Intelligence Research, SACAIR 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 6 Dec 202110 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
Volume1551 CCIS
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


Conference2nd Southern African Conference on Artificial Intelligence Research, SACAIR 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • AI machine learning
  • Active learning algorithms
  • Bias
  • Ethics
  • Fairness
  • Jürgen Habermas
  • Theory of communicative action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Mathematics


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