Earlier this year the UnBias team ran its first Ethicon. An Ethicon is a new kind of event developed by members of the Human Centred Computing theme at Oxford. It works as a twist on the traditional hackathon; it is geared towards forefronting ethical issues alongside design issues in the completion of a task.
In an Ethicon teams work together to carry out a competitive design task. In addition to thinking about technical features of design they are required to address the social and ethical implications of the particular technology involved. They are challenged to identify novel and creative solutions that embed ethical considerations into their design. Teams are interdisciplinary so that they can share expertise and learn from each other in a fun environment. They are then assessed by a panel of experts who judge the technical quality of their work alongside how well they have worked together to identify and address ethical concerns.
Continue reading UnBias Ethicon!
To what extent can AI/statistical systems support the criminal justice process? Can we rely on algorithmic calculations to help us make decisions about whether an offender should receive a prison sentence? Are sentencing decisions made by statistical systems more or less likely to be flawed than those made by humans? As the use of AI in criminal justice systems around the world continues to grow, these questions become more and urgent to discuss – and were the focus of a recent roundtable discussion held at Oxford.
Continue reading Roundtable on Uses of Artificial Intelligence in the Criminal Justice System
How do you take care on the Internet? What are the dangers of online fake news and filter bubbles? What are appropriate punishments for hate speech and trolling?
These are questions we asked members of the public during the Curiosity Carnival at the University of Oxford on September 30th. The Curiosity Carnival formed part of European Researchers’ Night, celebrated in cities across Europe. Oxford ran a city wide programme of activities across its universities, libraries, gardens and woods to give members of the public a chance to find out about real research projects and meet the people who conduct them.
Continue reading UnBias takes part in European Researchers’ Night!
In the current BBC series Secrets of Silicon Valley Jamie Bartlett (technology writer and Director of the Centre for Social Media Analysis at Demos) explores the ‘dark reality behind Silicon Valley’s glittering promise to build a better world.’ Episode 2, The Persuasion Machine, shines a spotlight on several of the issues we are investigating in UnBias.
Continue reading Algorithms and the persuasion machine
On 21st March the House of Select Committee on Communications published a report called ‘Growing up with the internet’. The report is based on an enquiry conducted by the House of Lords into Children and the Internet. UnBias team member Professor Marina Jirotka served as a specialist advisor to the enquiry and team member Professor Derek McAuley gave verbal evidence to it, elaborating on the written evidence submitted by Perez, Koene and McAuley.
Continue reading “Growing up Digital” UnBias team members contribute to House of Lords report
What are algorithms and how are they designed? Why are they used in commercial practice and what kinds of benefits can they bring? What are the potential harmful impacts of using algorithms and how can they be prevented?
On Wednesday 15th February 2017 some UnBias consortium members had the pleasure of attending an Algorithm Workshop hosted by the Law School, University of Strathclyde. During the workshop, we had the opportunity to consider, discuss and begin to address key issues and concerns surrounding the contemporary prevalence of algorithms. The workshop was also attended by students from the host University and an interdisciplinary group of experts from areas including Law, Computer Science and the Social Sciences. This mix of expertise made for a really great afternoon of talks and discussions surrounding the design, development and use of algorithms through various disciplinary perspectives.
Continue reading Algorithm Workshop, University of Strathclyde. February 2017
On February 3rd a group of twenty five stakeholders joined us at the Digital Catapult in London for our first discussion workshop.
The User Engagement workpackage of the project focuses on gathering together professionals from industry, academia, education, NGOs and research institutes in order to discuss societal and ethical issues surrounding the design, development and use of algorithms on the internet. We aim to create a space where these stakeholders can come together and discuss their various concerns and perspectives. This includes finding differences of opinion. For example, participants from industry often view algorithms as proprietary and commercially sensitive whereas those from NGOs frequently call for greater transparency in algorithmic design. It is important for us to draw out these kinds of varying perspectives and understand in detail the reasoning that lies behind them. Then, combined with the outcomes of the other project workpackages, we can identify points of resolution and produce outputs that seek to advance responsibility on algorithm driven internet platforms.
Continue reading First UnBias Multi-Stakeholder Workshop
A recent report from the BBC covers one instance of the ever-growing use of algorithms for social purposes and helps us to illustrate some key ethical concerns underpinning the UnBias project.
Continue reading The need for a responsible approach to the development of algorithms
The first youth jury sessions of the UnBias project took place last weekend and were highly interesting and thought provoking. Despite the cold and rainy weather, we had a great turnout with nearly 30 young people choosing to attend. Our youth jurors mostly ranged in age from 13 to 18 and took part in two interactive activities.
Continue reading UnBias Youth Juries at Game City – Nottingham