PC Mag: Michael Kearns on ‘How to Build an Ethical Algorithm’

Michael Kearns, Professor of Computer and Information Science and Founding Director of the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences, was featured on a recent episode of “Fast Forward with Dan Costa” where he discussed his belief in the power of AI systems to change the world, given the the right precautions.

Kearns is the co-author of a new book, The Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design, along with Aaron Roth, 1940 Bicentennial Term Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science. The book explores the advent of AI algorithms and how man-made programming can lead to bias or discrimination when algorithms are applied for social decision making, such as determining medical care or job applicaiton screening.

Kearns says that the problem is not algorithms themselves, but their design. In this interview, he shares his view that while there is cause for concern over AI’s social failing, the problem is gives insight to the solution when it comes to unlocking socially conscious algorithms:

“The main purpose of our book is we are optimists, we are machine learning researchers, but we’re also aware of the antisocial behavior that algorithms have demonstrated in the past five years and the rising kind of popular alarm over that….If algorithms are misbehaving, we could think about making the algorithms better in the first place.The good news from our perspective is that over the last 10 years or so, a growing number of researchers in the field, ourselves included, have been working on exactly how you would do that and what it would mean. ”

Watch the full episode and read the interview at PCMag.com.