The Ethical Machine — Big Ideas for Designing Fairer AI and Algorithms – is a “project that presents ideas to encourage a discussion about designing fairer algorithms” of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School. The November 27, 2018, publication is “Follow the Data! Algorithmic Transparency Starts with Data Transparency” by Julia Stoyanovich and Bill Howe. Their focus is local and municipal governments and NGOs that deliver vital human services in health, housing, and mobility. In the article, they give a welcome emphasis on the role of data instead of the common focus these days on just algorithms. They write, “data is used to customize generic algorithms for specific situations—that is to say that algorithms are trained using data. The same algorithm may exhibit radically different behavior—make different predictions; make a different number of mistakes and even different kinds of mistakes—when trained on two different data sets. In other words, without access to the training data, it is impossible to know how an algorithm would actually behave.” See their article for more discussion on designing systems for data transparency.
US and European Policy
Adam Eisgrau, ACM Director of Global Policy and Public Affairs, published an update on the ACM US and Europe Policy Committees in the November 29 ACM MemberNet. Key points are
- The ACM US Technology Policy Committee submitted Comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
- Chairs of ACM’s Europe Council and ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee together wrote to the chief of staff of the European Commission’s influential Scientific Advice Mechanism group offering the assistance of ACM experts.
- Europe Technology Policy Committee Chair Oliver Grau was one of two experts chosen to conduct a deep dive briefing on AI technology for a lay audience of EC staff, industry professionals and other technology organization representatives.
Adam encourages us to visit the ACM Public Policy Statements page for a complete list of both the US and Europe Policy Committees’ policy products produced so far this year.