Our invisible puppet masters, AI and the things they decide about our lives.
Algorithms are one of the most useful tools on the planet right now. All online searches use them, they basically run our smartphones, emails wouldn’t know how to get to their destinations without them and neither would our delivery drivers.
But, despite their elegance, usefulness and almost always good intentions, with an avalanche of unintended consequences resulting in some seriously bad press, we need to have a discussion about algorithmic ethics. Consequences such as recommender algorithms pushing more and more extreme content to social media users, the promulgation of fake news online and the influencing of national elections, to name a few.
With their powerful ability to transform contemporary society and make decisions that affect our lives, how do we manage what seems like the actions of invisible puppet masters but really has no human author? What can we do to make sure these systems are fair, but acknowledge the uncertainty that will always be part of our relationship with algorithms?
Political geographer Louise Amoore is the author of several celebrated books on how contemporary forms of data and algorithmic analysis are changing society – most recently Cloud Ethics: Algorithms and the Attributes of Ourselves and Others. Join her for a conversation with UNSW international law and technology expert Fleur Johns as they explore the ethics and politics of algorithmic systems.
The Centre for Ideas’ new series of international conversations brings the world to Sydney. Each digital event brings a leading UNSW thinker together with their international peer or hero to explore inspiration, new ideas and discoveries.