JAN 24: Health Data Science Distinguished Speaker Series: Dr. Suresh Venkatasubramanian, Brown University

“The Moral Salience of the Algorithmic Lens”

Jan 24, 2024 | 12-1PM.  Hiebert Lounge & Zoom.

Register now:

In-Person Virtual


Abstract:  Our world today is filtered through the algorithmic lens — a vast assemblage of algorithmic tools and data that mediate our experience of life, work, and health. This lens reveals and distorts: it forces the world into forms that are machine-readable, and in doing so renders some aspects sharper, and makes others invisible. The algorithmic lens requires precision, and data. It seeks to optimize, and does so at scale. But to render ourselves amenable to the algorithmic lens, we make choices — choices that implicitly encode values and judgements. Deploying an algorithm starts a moral conversation you didn’t know you were having. In this talk, I will unpack the elements of the algorithmic lens, and seek to explore its limits. I’ll argue why it is important that we recognize the existence of the lens and study its limits carefully. It is only in doing so that we can begin to understand how to design systems that align with our goals and values.

Bio:  Dr. Venkatasubramanian directs the Center for Technological Responsibility, Reimagination, and Redesign (CNTR) with the Data Science Institute at Brown University and is a Professor of Computer Science and Data Science. His research interests lie in algorithmic fairness, and more generally the impact of automated decision-making systems in society. Dr. Venkatasubramanian formerly served in the Biden-Harris administration as Assistant Director for Science and Justice in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  In that capacity, he helped co-author the Blueprint for an AI BIll of Rights.

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