Data Ethics Club meeting 20-01-21, 13:00-14:00 GMT#
You’re welcome to join us for our next Data Ethics Club meeting on Wednesday the 20th January at 13:00-14:00 GMT. You don’t need to register, just drop in. This time we’re going to watch/read the Executive Summary of the Review into bias in algorithmic decision making by the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI), which is a recently published (end of November 2020) government report.
Natalie suggested this week’s content, and will be leading this week’s meeting.
There will be time to talk about whatever we like (relating to the content), but here are some specific questions to think about while you’re reading.
Were you surprised by any of the examples of algorithmic decision making currently in use?
Which of the CDEI’s recommendations do you agree/disagree with?
Are there any recommendations that you think are missing?
What did we think?#
A summary of the discussion was that:
The report didn’t shy away from the potential harms which was good.
There is a sense of the tracks being laid in front of the train in terms of regulation. One group felt there is a need for more guidance for private companies, but who is responsible for implementing that?
Also, how do you regulate algorithms? One rule will not fit all, and it will be a difficult field to manage in this sense.
It’s likely that there aren’t enough people who understand enough about algorithms to assess whether they are a good idea for their use case. There are also times where algorithms are sold for a use case that should not be using algorithms at all. Pressures on funding, particuarly in local gov and police, make these seem more tempting though.
How can we centre the data subject? Do they know what their data are being used for, and the impacts of it?
Recommendations to collect more info about protected characteristics were open to question - who will volunteer this data, and will this serve the people who it needs to (who may be especially unlikely to provide this data in the first place).