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Health Data Partnerships: using trust to build trust

This morning’s discussion – jointly hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Data Analytics and Health – suggested that if we want uses of health data to be trusted, we need to trust citizens and patients to think more deeply about benefits and risks than media headlines might suggest. The session was inspired by a […]

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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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“Digital Ethics”, or Ethical Digitalisation?

Perhaps surprisingly – given that its title was “Digital ethics” – last week’s SOCITM panel session spent a lot of  time exploring things that aren’t “digital”. Although the discussion focussed on local government, a lot of the ideas seemed relevant to education, too. Don’t be solutionist: technology might not be the right option. When identifying […]

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Watch this space

Thinking through an idea that occurred to me during our SOCITM ShareNational panel on ethical use of data and technology. What happens if we explicitly think about “our spaces, which people use”, rather than “people that use our spaces”? That may seem like a semantic quibble, but I think it leads in three interesting directions: […]

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Is our technology comforting?

When I was invited to join a panel at the SOCITM ShareNational event for local government I presumed my role was to provide a different, external, perspective on “Ethical Use of Emerging Technologies and Data”. So I offered to contribute a five-minute “sparkler” introduction: a bit of illumination, some striking of ideas, maybe a smile. […]

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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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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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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 […]