From October 18th to 21st UnBias participated in the 2017 edition of the annual Association of Intern Researchers (AoIR) conference which was help in Tartu, Estonia.
We started the conference by participating in a fascinating workshop on “Less hate in politics! Machine learning and interventions as tools to mitigate online hate speech in political campaigns” that was organized by Salla-Maaria Laaksonen, Matti Nelimarkka, Reeta Pöyhtäri, Teemu Ropponen and, Kaarina Nikunen from Universities of Helsinki and Tampere, and the Open Knowledge Foundation of Finland. The workshop stimulated some great discussions about the role of social media platforms, politically targeted ‘bots’ and the potential/difficulties for using Machine Learning to scan and detect hate speech. An important lesson from the workshop was to be very wary if a Finnish person starts talking about ‘taking someone behind the sauna’ since this is a euphemism for being ‘put down’.
Other highlights of the conference (from an UnBias perspective) included the session on Algorithms featuring talks by Taina Bucher “When is analgorithms? Facebook trnsing topics and the politics of algorithmic agency”, Katherina Drinkuth “Algorithms and (the lack of) discretion in automated decision-making processes”, Amanda Chevtchouk Jurno and Carlos d’Andréa “Do Algorithms have cosmopolitics? A discussion based on facebook’s nudity policy”, and Ansgar Koene, Elvira Perez-Vallejos and Helena Webb “Human Agency on Algorithmic Systems”.