Should algorithms replace bureaucrats? Some hope that automated decisions will make public administration more efficient and fair. But they can also pose a threat to our privacy, freedom of expression and protection from discrimination.
The Council of Europe has set up a new Committee of experts on Internet Intermediaries (MSI-NET). Ben Wagner, Director of CIHR, has been appointed as a member of this Committee.
The 2015 Volkswagen emission scandal is a recent example of the power and challenges of algorithmic regulation. Volkswagen used software to manipulate the emissions of cars, and public regulators were unable to access the source code of this software.
Why do algorithms raise ethical concerns? Because they keep information away from us, make subjective decisions and – most importantly – we don’t always know how they work. CIHR put together a publication which summarises key issues of the Ethics of Algorithms debates.
“The disconnection of communications networks has serious negative consequences for both economy and society in Pakistan” says Ben Wagner, who contributed to a new report on network shutdowns published today. In Pakistan, mobile and internet networks are disconnected frequently during public gatherings due to security concerns.
The Centre for Internet and Human Rights will be participating in the Global Conference on Cyberspace in The Hague on April 16-17, 2015.
Algorithms are increasingly used to make decisions for us, about us, or with us. From areas of life that did not exist more than a decade ago, like online search or social media news areas, to fields where decisions used to be made exclusively via human judgement.
The exchanges initiated during the Ethics of Algorithms event in Berlin helped to deepen our understanding of the way algorithms govern our lives now and refine questions for future research.
At the beginning of March, the CIHR will bring together leading experts from academia, technology and civil society to discuss the ethical dimensions of algorithms. The event will be hosted by the Technical University of Berlin.