Keynote Talk: What Does it Mean for an Algorithm to be Ethical? Connecting Ethics to Policy and Design

by Shalaleh Rismani, Generation R; and Open Roboethics Institute

As small and large organizations rapidly innovate their operations with data-driven, predictive algorithms, ethics has become a buzz word for technologists. Data scientists, business leaders and policy makers are actively trying to address questions such as “what does it mean for an algorithm to be fair?”; “how do predictive algorithms affect the various roles within an organization?” and “can we make the algorithms transparent? Or explainable?” What is all this algorithmic ethics discussion all about? Who is doing something about it? More importantly, what does it mean for big data practitioners? Drawing from relevant studies and publications such as the IEEE Ethically Aligned Design guidelines and UK government’s data ethics framework, this talk will begin with a broad discussion of the critical algorithmic ethics issues. The speaker will also present some of the practical steps to address these issues, including a case study (from right here in British Columbia, Canada) that demonstrate how ethics can be integrated into the design of big data systems.

about author

Shalaleh Rismani is the Chief Innovation Officer at Generation R, a consulting firm that specializes in identifying and addressing the unique ethical and social risks that companies take on as they implement automated systems such as predictive decision making tools. Shalaleh is also a co-director of Open Roboethics Institute (ORI) which spun out of the Open Roboethics initiative (ORi), an international roboethics think tank hosted at University of British Columbia. She completed a Masters of Applied Science in Biomedical Engineering and Bachelors of Applied Science in Mechatronics at UBC and specializes in understanding the role of technology in society by investigating networks of human activity.

Special Talk: European Public Broadcasters Path towards Public Service Recommender Systems

by Pierre-Nicolas Schwab, the Chairman of the Big Data Initiative, European Broadcasting Union, Geneva, Switzerland

Public service broadcasters have a special commitment to report on the diversity of the society and to enriching people’s lives through different opinions and new perspectives. With recommendation algorithms being accused to promote filter bubbles (Pariser, 2011), Public Service Media (PSM) has to pay special attention to the promotion of diversity among its users. In this presentation, we will cover the efforts undertaken by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to promote the use of recommender systems among its members on the first hand, and to promote public service values on the other hand.

about EBU

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) is the world’s leading alliance of public service media (PSM). It has 119 member organizations in 56 countries in Europe, and an additional 33 Associates in Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas. Its Members operate over 2,000 television, radio and online channels and services, and offer a wealth of content across other platforms. Together they reach an audience of more than one billion people around the world, broadcasting in more than 160 languages. The EBU operates Eurovision and Euroradio services.