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22 January 2020 - Ethical Algorithm by Professor Aaron Roth, University of Pennsylvania


Many recent mainstream media articles and popular books have raised alarms over anti-social algorithmic behaviour, especially regarding machine learning and artificial intelligence. The concerns include leaks of sensitive personal data by predictive models, algorithmic discrimination as a side-effect of machine learning, and inscrutable decisions made by complex models. While standard and legitimate responses to these phenomena include calls for stronger and better laws and regulations, researchers in machine learning, statistics and related areas are also working on designing better-behaved algorithms. An explosion of recent research in areas such as differential privacy, algorithmic fairness and algorithmic game theory is forging a new science of socially aware algorithm design. This talk based on a recent general audience book by the same title, jointly written with Michael Kearns, will survey this nascent science and point towards ways forward.


Aaron Roth is the class of 1940 Bicentennial Term associate professor of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, affiliated with the Warren Center for Network and Data Science, and co-director of the Networked and Social Systems Engineering (NETS) program. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) awarded by President Obama in 2016, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, and research awards from Yahoo, Amazon, and Google. His research focuses on the algorithmic foundations of data privacy, fairness, game theory, and machine learning, Together with Cynthia Dwork, he is the author of the book “The Algorithmic Foundations of Differential Privacy.” Together with Michael Kearns, he is the author of “The Ethical Algorithm”.