Project Description

The Ethics of Algorithms is a combination research and education project. It aims to investigate the ethics and values of the computer scientists, information scientists, and software engineers who create algorithms. This research and education project aims to both bridge silos between philosophical and social scientific approaches to ethics to develop an integrated theoretical approach to ethics. Such a theoretical approach simultaneously identifies the analytical, moral reasoning that is happening during the conceptualization and design phase as well as critically analyzes the interplay between an individual's personal ethics and values and the ethics and values created by aspects of policies, institutional, economic, and cultural contexts. The proposed research furthers the literature on information ethics by taking an upstream approach that focuses on the design process. Finally, by focusing on algorithms, the proposed research will contribute to broader discussions about ethics, values, and big data. Algorithms are the driving technique behind the creation of big data sets yet there is little talk about the decisions and values that shape algorithm design and thus impact big data content.

We are currently looking for more sites. If you are interested in working with us or know of others who work with algorithms and big data that might be interested, please contact us!

Project Plans

The proposed work will have broad impact on graduate students in computer science, information science, and engineering. Research findings will be published in journals such as Science as Culture, Science, Technology and Human Values, Techné, The Information Society, International Review of Information Ethics, and the Journal of the American Society of Information Science. The team plans to work with professional organizations such as the Association of Computing Machinery [ACM] and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility [CPSR] to address a wider range of issues in the professional code of ethics.

About Us

Algorithms and big data are timely, important topics for investigation. The proposed research opens the black box of algorithmic design in order to provide more transparency for publics to discuss and debate the implications of this new way of organizing knowledge and social life.

Our Sponsors

University National Science Foundation