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AI: thinking about definitions…

To ensure a lively discussion at a recent round-table on AI Ethics participants were asked, provocatively, “was the A Level algorithm fair?”. OK, I can be provoked… It depends on what you mean by “fair”… As has been widely discussed, the main objective set for those who designed the algorithm  seems to have been to […]

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AI: Regulation isn’t enough

Alan Shark’s SOCITM ShareNational keynote looked at why regulation is not sufficient to deal with emerging technologies, and the complementary role that needs to be played by ethics. Although privacy is not the only threat posed by such technologies, it does seem to be the one that has got people interested in the debate, whether over […]

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AI: It’s not (just) what you use…

Allison Gardner’s keynote to the SOCTIM ShareNational conference last week highlighted how using AI responsibly is at least as much about how decisions are made as about the technology itself. Questions of “transparency” often focus on whether the AI is explainable, but how decisions were made – even how a particular problem was identified and […]

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Framing the Algorithm

A panel on Algorithms at the UK IGF asked whether the summer of 2020 was a catastrophe – “mutant algorithm” having entered political discourse – or an opportunity to work with a population that is now much more aware of the personal significance of the debate? “Transparency” is often cited as a remedy, but we […]

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Presentations

AI & Ethics – a mini-MOOC

As part of Jisc’s exploration of Artificial Intelligence, we’ve created a free “mini-MOOC” (mini, because you should be able to complete it in 30 minutes, or longer if you do the additional reading). We’re planning to run it monthly, but you can sign up any time for the next run. The course, and the format […]

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Machine Learning and Data Protection

Might some of the problems in applying data protection law to machine learning arise because we’re using too simple a model? Sometimes an over-simplified model can be hard to apply in practice. So here’s a model that’s a bit more complex but, I hope, a lot easier to apply. It’s also a lot more informative, […]

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Ethical AI – HOWTO

A couple of new documents provide ideas on how to think about ethics when we deploy Artificial Intelligence. First is an article by Linda Thornton for EDUCAUSE, on Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Accountability. This looks at who should be thinking ethically, finding responsibilities for programmers, managers, marketers, salespeople and organisations that implement AI. Since this […]

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AI: Don’t Stare

An interesting virtual water-cooler discussion with colleagues who are exploring the potential of AI as a Service. They tested a selection of easily available cloud face-processing systems on a recording of one of our internal Zoom meetings, and were startled by the results. Face identification wasn’t a surprise: everyone who has changed the background on […]

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What makes AI creepy?

There seems to be a widespread perception that “AI is creepy”. But at the same time as reacting strongly against an app that would check social media posts for signs that we were struggling to cope, we don’t think twice about the grammar checker that continually reads everything we type. I wondered why and if […]

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How Should Education use AI?

In looking at the many ethical concerns that have been expressed about the use of Artificial Intelligence in education, it struck me that most fall at the two ends of a scale. On the one hand questions of human autonomy lead to concerns about cookie-cutter approaches, where AI treats every student according to a rigid […]