Monday, May 15, 2017

Can you teach ethics to algorithms?; CIO, May 15, 2017

James Maclennan, CIO; 

Can you teach ethics to algorithms?


"The challenges of privacy

Addressing bias is a challenge, but most people understand that discrimination and bias are bad. What happens when we get into trickier ethical questions such as privacy?
Just look at Facebook and Google, two companies that have mountains of information on you. A recent report uncovered that Facebook “can figure out when people as young as 14 feel ‘defeated,’ ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘a failure.’” This information is gathered by a Facebook analysis system, and it is really easy how such information could be abused.
The fact that the information uncovered by such an algorithm could be so easily abused does not make the algorithm morally wrong. Facebook decided to create the algorithm without considering the ethical implications of manipulating depressed teenagers to buy more stuff, and thus the responsibility falls on Facebook and not the algorithm. 
Facebook at minimum needs to encourage its own technological staff to think about the ethical consequences of any new algorithm they construct. If Facebook and other technological companies fail to consider protecting user privacy by constructing algorithms, then the government may have to step in to ensure the peoples’ rights are protected."

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