jm + bias + privacy   2

Remarks at the SASE Panel On The Moral Economy of Tech
Excellent talk. I love this analogy for ML applied to real-world data which affects people:
Treating the world as software promotes fantasies of control. And the best kind of control is control without responsibility. Our unique position as authors of software used by millions gives us power, but we don't accept that this should make us accountable. We're programmers—who else is going to write the software that runs the world? To put it plainly, we are surprised that people seem to get mad at us for trying to help. Fortunately we are smart people and have found a way out of this predicament. Instead of relying on algorithms, which we can be accused of manipulating for our benefit, we have turned to machine learning, an ingenious way of disclaiming responsibility for anything. Machine learning is like money laundering for bias. It's a clean, mathematical apparatus that gives the status quo the aura of logical inevitability. The numbers don't lie.


Particularly apposite today given Y Combinator's revelation that they use an AI bot to help 'sift admission applications', and don't know what criteria it's using: https://twitter.com/aprjoy/status/783032128653107200
culture  ethics  privacy  technology  surveillance  ml  machine-learning  bias  algorithms  software  control 
october 2016 by jm
My email to Irish Times Editor, sent 25th June
Daragh O'Brien noting 3 stories on 3 consecutive days voicing dangerously skewed misinformation about data protection and privacy law in Ireland:
There is a worrying pattern in these stories. The first two decry the Data Protection legislation (current and future) as being dangerous to children and damaging to the genealogy trade. The third sets up an industry “self-regulation” straw man and heralds it as progress (when it is decidedly not, serving only to further confuse consumers about their rights).

If I was a cynical person I would find it hard not to draw the conclusion that the Irish Times, the “paper of record” has been stooged by organisations who are resistant to the defence of and validation of fundamental rights to privacy as enshrined in the Data Protection Acts and EU Treaties, and in the embryonic Data Protection Regulation. That these stories emerge hot on the heels of the pendulum swing towards privacy concerns that the NSA/Prism revelations have triggered is, I must assume, a co-incidence. It cannot be the case that the Irish Times blindly publishes press releases without conducting cursory fact checking on the stories contained therein?

Three stories over three days is insufficient data to plot a definitive trend, but the emphasis is disconcerting. Is it the Irish Times’ editorial position that Data Protection legislation and the protection of fundamental rights is a bad thing and that industry self-regulation that operates in ignorance of legislation is the appropriate model for the future? It surely cannot be that press releases are regurgitated as balanced fact and news by the Irish Times without fact checking and verification? If I was to predict a “Data Protection killed my Puppy” type headline for tomorrow’s edition or another later this week would I be proved correct?
daragh-obrien  irish-times  iab  bias  advertising  newspapers  press-releases  journalism  data-protection  privacy  ireland 
june 2013 by jm

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