This cartoon is about algorithmic transparency. Today, more and more decisions are being made by algorithms. The logic and functioning of these algorithms is increasingly complex and opaque to people. Today, the new buzzwords are “artificial intelligence” and “machine learning.” AI and machine learning represent a number of different but related things, but what they generally share in common are algorithms. As algorithms become more complex and rely on being fed massive quantities of data, it becomes harder and harder to explain their reasoning. This is a big problem because algorithms play a significant role in our lives by making some very important decisions.
Here are a few interesting things to read about the issue:
— Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (2016)
— Kroll et al., Accountable Algorithms, 165 U. Pa. L. Rev. 633 (2017)
— Woodrow Hartzog et al., Inefficiently Automated Law Enforcement, 2015 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1763 (2016)
— Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Statement on Algorithmic Transparency and Accountability (2017)
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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy and data security training. He also posts at his blog at LinkedIn, which has more than 1 million followers.
Professor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz, of the annual Privacy + Security Forum events.