• Workshop on Algorithmic awareness building for User Trust in online platforms

    by  • November 22, 2018 • Events, Project

    Algorithmic awareness building for User Trust in online platforms

    Time: Friday, November 30th 2018, 18:00 to 20:30 (UTC), London
    Place: Cloudflare offices, 25 Lavington Street, Southwark, London (link to Google Map)

    Topic

    As part of the increasingly personalised service offering of online platforms, algorithmic systems such as personalised product recommendations, news feeds and search results have come to dominant the online experiences of many users. Despite the ubiquity of their application however, awareness about algorithmic systems remains very low, and often confused.

    The EPSRC funded UnBias project has spent the last two years engaging with young people (13-17 years old) and industry, civil-society and academic stakeholders to better understand the needs and concerns regarding awareness of algorithmic systems and their characteristics. Based on this outcomes of this work UnBias produce a set of “Awareness Cards” that are part of an algorithmic “Fairness Toolkit” for online platforms.

    Format

    This workshop will be in interactive session aimed at exploring awareness building around the use of algorithms in online platforms, through the use of the UnBias Awareness Cards. A facilitator from the UnBias team, Liz Dowthwaite, will introduce the awareness cards and invite everyone to take part in activities designed to encourage critical and civic thinking for exploring how decisions are made by algorithms, and the impact that these decisions may have on our lives and the lives of others.

    Agenda

    1. Welcome and Introduction (20 minutes)
    2. Small group activities using the cards
      1. Case study – based around real examples of bias (40 minutes)
      2. Exercise – Explore how bias, trust, prejudice, unfairness and discrimination operate (30 minutes)
      3. Process – Be the algorithm. Consider the inputs, steps and factors which influence an algorithm and the consequences of its decisions (30 minutes)
    3. Whole group feedback and discussion (30 minutes)

    Time: Friday, November 30th 2018, 18:00 to 20:30 (UTC), London

    Place: Cloudflare offices, 25 Lavington Street, Southwark, London (link to Google Map)

    With thanks to:

    Join us, learn more and share your views!

    As this is a workshop, we regret that remote participation will not be possible.

    Report

    10 participants met at the Cloudflare offices and divided into two groups to take part in the workshop. The groups first followed several examples as described in the “Example” cards, to frame the issues of bias, trust and fairness in algorithmic systems with real world examples. Each participants having been dealt with a random set of cards placed them on top of the example, whether data, rights, factors and values, explaining how that pertained to the example. A typical example would be the personalisation of data according to an individual’s preferences, but also habits, or a determination of its gender etc. The participants then looked a process cards and discussed a process from an algorithm’s point of view (“be the algorithm hiring staff”)- data gathering, factors, and how these might be framed or countered by existing rights which most people are not aware of.

    This was a fascinating workshop that used this excellent deck of cards which contains a wealth of information. After 75 minutes participants had spontaneously launched into critical thinking regarding algorithms and how they might be affecting everyone in a way that was sometimes intended and sometimes not.

    If there is a demand for a further workshop, we might repeat one in the New Year.

    Many thanks to Cloudflare for hosting us and to Liz and Ansgar for organising this excellent workshop.

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