BU Cyber Alliance Hosts 11/15 Seminar, Featuring Ellen Goodman (Rutgers)

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM on Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Refreshments & networking at 2:45 PM
Hariri Institute for Computing
111 Cummington Mall, Room 180

Algorithmic Transparency for the Smart City
Ellen P. Goodman
Professor of Law, Rutgers University

Abstract: Emerging across many disciplines are questions about algorithmic ethics – about the values embedded in artificial intelligence and big data analytics that increasingly replace human decision-making. In the public sector, the opacity of algorithmic decision-making is particularly problematic both because governmental decisions may be especially weighty, and because democratically-elected governments bear special duties of accountability. My co-author Bob Braunei and I set out to test the limits of transparency around governmental deployment of big data analytics, focusing our investigation on local and state government use of predictive algorithms. We conclude that the use of these programs, including the underlying models and implementation, are not sufficiently transparent.  We propose a number of reforms to improve public access to, and understanding of, algorithmic governance. Although it would require a multi-stakeholder process to develop best practices for record generation and disclosure, we present what we believe are eight principal types of information that such records should ideally contain.

ellgood_imgBio: Ellen P. Goodman specializes in information policy law: free speech, media policy, privacy, data ethics, advertising, and digital platform power. She is co-director and co-founder of the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy & Law and contributes to The Guardian and Slate. Her research on algorithmic ethics in government has led to foundation consultations and grants on increasing public access to data. Professor Goodman received a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Grant to produce newsgathering law tools for digital journalists and Ford Foundation grants for work on public media policy.