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Wednesday, December 7 • 15:05 - 15:25
[LIGHTNING SESSION] Holding algorithms accountable to protect fundamental rights

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[20-Minute Lightning Session]

An increasing share of our social interactions is mediated by algorithmic decision making processes (ADM). ADM and data-driven models serve to automate how news and information is produced and distributed and therefore shape the public discourse. They are used for risk assessments before deciding who can be set free at every stage of the criminal justice system, from assigning bond amounts to even more fundamental decisions about defendants’ freedom. In medical centers they are used as decision supporting tools in the diagnostics. The credit scores of individuals’ are assessed with algorithms.

It is uncontested that AMD holds enormous promise and may contribute to the creation of less subjective, fairer processes and reduce the risk of careless mistakes. At the same time it carries enormous dangers of delegating discrimination to subtle automated processes that are too hermetic to be noticed. If users’ trust is betrayed or cannot be established in these systems, this will be a major obstacle in enabling inclusive and sustainable growth.

We need to discuss different questions relating to these technologies:
What kind of scrutiny does ADM have to be submitted to?
Do we need to look for intelligibility, transparency, accountability?
Can we expect any kind of control in light of self-learning systems?
If not, what needs to be the result - a ban on ADM in cases when fundamental rights are affected?
Would such a ban be enforceable?
And last but not least: Who is responsible for the outcomes of ADM - the designers of the systems, the coders, the entities implementing them, the users?

Session Organizers
avatar for Matthias Spielkamp

Matthias Spielkamp

Founder, AlgorithmWatch
Matthias works as a journalist, activist and entrepreneur in Berlin. He is one of the founders of AlgorithmWatch. Before, he co-founded the online magazine iRights.info – about legal issues in the digital world, which in 2006 received the Grimme Online Award, Germany’s most prestigious award for online journalism. He now serves as its publisher. Matthias also founded the IGF Academy, where he works with stakeholders form the Global South... Read More →


Wednesday December 7, 2016 15:05 - 15:25
Lightning Session Area