New Research Project: “Translating Algorithm Ethics into Engineering Practice” Funded by Cisco Research Centre

We are pleased to announce the confirmation of a new research project, “Translating Algorithm Ethics into Engineering Practice”, with Adriano Soares Koshiyama, Zeynep Engin and Philip Treleaven, thanks to generous funding from Cisco Research Centre. The project will run over the course of one year and address concerns of algorithmic ethics.

With the rise of AI, algorithm ethics and safety is becoming increasingly pivotal in business and society. Following focus on technology optimization in the past few decades to produce better, faster, and cheaper services and products, we are currently entering into a new phase of ‘digital revolution’ in which technology ethics, legality and safety are becoming priority topics for computer science and engineering practice. Beyond addressing malicious use and unintended consequences, there is now also the possibility for digital technologies to help us address prevalent human imperfections (e.g. bias and prejudice) in every day operations.

We take the view that algorithmic decisions are not ethical by default, like no product is secure by default.  We are creating an AI-based toolkit to ‘police’ algorithms assessing bias, legality, fairness, performance etc. This work underpins the interdisciplinary UCL Digital Ethics Forum, addressing the emerging ‘digital ethics’ field from both engineering and policy viewpoints; through a toolkit and associated framework. (In fact, we foresee the emergence of a new ‘digital ethics engineering’ profession.) The proposed ‘algorithm-ethics’ toolkit and associated framework will develop an extensible suite of programs and test data sets for assessing impact issues.

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