Earlier this year the UnBias team ran its first Ethical Hackathon. These are a new kind of event developed by members of the Human Centred Computing theme at Oxford. They works as a twist on the traditional hackathon; by building on principles of responsible innovation, our ethical hackathons are geared towards forefronting ethical issues alongside design ones in the completion of a task.
In the ethical hackathon 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.
Hundreds of people attended this free event that offered a very diverse and fun programme with lots of hands-on activities and demonstrations on different topics: life sciences, astronomy, chemistry, physics, psychology, natural history, engineering, etc.
On March 5th and 6th UnBias had the pleasure of participating in a workshop that was organized to signal the launch of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center’s HUMAINT (HUman behaviour and MAchine INTelligence ) project.
The HUMAINT project is a multidisciplinary research project that aims to understand the potential impact of machine intelligence on human behaviour. A particular focus of the project lies on human cognitive capabilities and decision making. The project recognizes that machine intelligence may provide cognitive help to people, but that algorithms can also affect personal decision making and raise privacy issues.
From 21st to 22nd February the Royal Society and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) held a UK – Netherlands bilateral international meeting to explore common research interests in the fields of Quantum Physics and Technology, Nanochemistry and Responsible Data Science. UnBias was pleased to participate as part of the Responsible Data Science stream.
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.
Some of us attended a joint conference of the ECREA (European Communications Research and Education Association) Communication and Media Industries, on the 10th-11th November in Stockholm. About 100 people, mainly academics, researchers from NGOs and media consultants from Europe and the US, took part.
Members of the UnBias team and the Digital Wildfire project from the Universities of Nottingham and Oxford were delighted to participate in Mozilla Festival (MozFest), which took place over the weekend of 28th-29th October 2017. The festival saw thousands of members of the general public, of all ages and nationalities, pass through the doors of Ravensbourne College to engage in a festival that aimed to promote a healthy internet and a web for all. Issues of digital inclusion, web literacy and privacy and security were some of the key topics that were discussed at the event.
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.