Accountable Algorithms: A Research Agenda

May 12th, 2015 by Christian

(or, Caillou Sucks)

What should people who are interested in accountability and algorithms be thinking about? Here is one answer: My eleven-minute remarks are now online from a recent event at NYU. I’ve edited them to intersperse my slides.

This talk was partly motivated by the ethics work being done in the machine learning community. That is very exciting and interesting work and I love, love, love it. My remarks are an attempt to think through the other things we might also need to do. Let me know how to replace the “??” in my slides with something more meaningful!

Preview: My remarks contain a minor attempt at a Michael Jackson joke.

Here is the video:

A number of fantastic Social Media Collective people were at this conference — you can hear Kate Crawford in the opening remarks.  For more videos from the conference, see:

Algorithms and Accountability

Thanks to Joris van Hoboken, Helen Nissenbaum and Elana Zeide for organizing such a fab event.

If you bought this 11-minute presentation you might also buy: Auditing Algorithms, a forthcoming workshop at Oxford.


(This post was cross-posted to The Social Media Collective.)



3 Responses to “Accountable Algorithms: A Research Agenda”

  1. A Research Agenda for Accountable Algorithms | Social Media Collective Says:

    […] (This was cross-posted to multicast.) […]

  2. Bipper Media Says:

    just watched your video. all of your comments seemed to be references organic algorithms – however, I’d be interested to hear your take on the paid attributes of exposure such as paying for exposure in Facebook’s newsfeed?

    great presentation btw…

  3. Christian Says:

    Thank you! I think non-organic algorithms would fit the framework in the same way. The best study of ad placement algorithm problems so far is certainly Sweeney’s: Referring to that study, the author stated that people first noticed the problem while manually looking at the ads that came up after search results (discoverable, predictable).

    If you are in the ad industry you may be particularly convinced that advertising placement algorithms are in need of more accountability. Many people think that click fraud is rampant and advertisers do not receive the audience that they pay for.

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