CNI 2035 Scenarios: AI-Influenced Futures in the Research Environment


Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, and in particular, generative AI, have the potential to disrupt the research environment significantly. There is an immediate need for members of the research environment to be proactive and plan for plausible futures that AI may continue to bring to their communities and their workplaces.

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) have chosen to apply scenario planning to imagine a future influenced by artificial intelligence (AI) and to explore the range of uncertainty associated with AI in the research and knowledge ecosystem. The scenarios were developed through a highly consultative process leveraging the expertise of the ARL/CNI Joint Task Force on Scenario Planning for AI/ML Futures and the ARL and CNI communities and facilitated by Stratus, LLC. The strategic focus and critical uncertainties highlighted in the scenarios were identified through extensive stakeholder engagement with the ARL and CNI membership during the winter of 2023 and spring of 2024 and involved over 300 people. Input was provided through focus groups, workshops, and one-on-one interviews.

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