The Fairness Toolkit has been developed for UnBias by Giles Lane and his team at Proboscis, with the input of young people and stakeholders. It is one of our project outputs aiming to promote awareness and stimulate a public civic dialogue about how algorithms shape online experiences and to reflect on possible changes to address issues of online unfairness. The tools are not just for critical thinking, but for civic thinking – supporting a more collective approach to imagining the future as a contrast to the individual atomising effect that such technologies often cause.
We are pleased to announce that UnBias won one of the three 2017 RCUK Digital Economy Theme ‘Telling Tales of Engagement’ awards. The evaluation process for this award considered both the impact of our previous work and a proposed new activity to “tell the story” of our research.
Our submission was titled “building and engaging with multi-stakeholder panels for developing policy recommendations”, highlighting the importance to our research of engaging with our stakeholder panel and with organizations that are shaping the policy and governance space for algorithmic systems.
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.
On September 7th the Guardian published an article drawing attention to a study from Stanford University which had applied Deep Neural Networks (a form of machine learning AI) to test if they could distinguish peoples’ sexual orientation from facial images. After reading both the original study and the Guardian’s report about it, there were so many problematic aspects about the study that I immediately had to write a response, which was published in the Conversation on September 13th under the title “Machine gaydar: AI is reinforcing stereotypes that liberal societies are trying to get rid of“.
USACM, the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council, will be hosting a panel event on “Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability.” The event will provide a forum for a discussion between stakeholders and leading computer scientists about the growing impact of algorithmic decision-making on our society and the technical underpinnings of algorithmic models.
The Ethicomp series of conferences fosters an international community of scholars and technologists, including computer professionals and business professionals from industry. Since 1995, conferences have been scheduled across Europe and Asia, with our main events coming every 18 months. Ethicomp considers computer ethics conceived broadly to include philosophical, professional, and practical aspects of the field. CEPE (Computer Ethics Philosophical Enquiry), as the name implies, is more narrowly focused on the philosophical aspects of computer and information ethics. CEPE events have been held every 18 months since 1997. Since the CEPE community overlaps considerably with the Ethicomp community, it makes sense for our two conference series to work together. In light of this, our next conference will be a jointly sponsored event, hosted at the Università degli Studi di Torino (University of Turin), Turin, Italy in June of 2017.
In the two decades since the inception of Ethicomp and CEPE, computing has gone from being esoteric and newfangled to ubiquitous and everyday. The ensuing transformations of our cultural and social institutions are liable to accelerate and metastasize as information technologies find their ways into every field of research and every pursuit. Our shared mission of promoting the ethical use of computer technology consequently demands an inquiry into values as these relate broadly to emerging sciences and technologies.
Open Track: topics that do not fit the other tracks, including but not limited to big data, privacy, intellectual property, professional ethics, ethical theory as related to computing, and the teaching computer ethics (Fran Grodzinsky and Catherine Flick)
The UnBias team is pleased to announce the launch of a ground-breaking report that articulates the voice of children and young people, and their relationship to the internet and digital technologies.
This report is titled ‘The Internet on our Own Term: How Children and Young People Deliberated about their Digital Rights’ and describes the work carried since April 2015 in which young people aged between 12 and 17 gathered together in the cities of Leeds, London and Nottingham to participate in a series of jury-styled focus groups designed to ‘put the internet on trial’. In total, nine juries took place which included 108 young people, approximately 12 participants per jury.