Cathy O’Neil (mathbabe.org) published an opinion piece in the New York Times suggesting that academia should play a larger and more responsible role in educating lawmakers and lobbyists on the problems with influential algorithms. She argues that the issue of limited engagement of algorithmic ethics in academia stems from limited infrastructure in addition to there being “essentially no distinct field of academic study that takes seriously the responsibility of understanding and critiquing the role of technology — and specifically, the algorithms that are responsible for so many decisions — in our lives.”
Scholars from a variety of disciplines responded on Twitter, with some pointing out that academics have questioned the ethics of algorithms in various forums over the last several years. For instance, Siva Vaidhyanathan (Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia) shared the Critical Algorithm Studies reading list, which serves as an essential bibliography on algorithmic ethics.
This post was produced through a cooperation between Robin Davis, Kelsey George, Tierney Gleason, Jennifer Matthews, Jessica Meyerson, and Argula Rublack (Editors-at-large for the week), Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara (Editor for the week), and Sarah Melton, Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Roxanne Shirazi, and Patrick Williams (dh+lib Review Editors).