From “Just Following Orders” to “Just Following Algorithms,” an AI Ethics Argument


“The algorithm made me do it” Ethical Challenges for Machine Learning

….. for more than a decade, computer scientists who create them have been worrying about, well, exactly what’s happening now with Facebook. They’ve been meeting to discuss how to be introduce concepts like fairness, accountability and transparency into the equation.

Bert Huang is a computer scientist at Virginia Tech. “It is something we’ve been aware of and have been trying to prepare the world for, but it’s moving faster than the scientific community can fully control,” he says.

Huang has been working with colleagues on ways to improve the upside of algorithms, like finding facts or friends fast, and protect the down sides, some of which, he says, are overblown.

“There’s a lot of worry about these algorithms being able to ‘figure you out,’ with the data we provide on Facebook or Google or whatever — that ‘someone will figure out my deepest darkest secrets.’ That’s an unfounded fear because the algorithms are just not that smart yet.”


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