Audits as Evidence: Experiments, Ensembles, and Enforcement

arXiv.org Machine Learning

We develop tools for utilizing correspondence experiments to detect illegal discrimination by individual employers. Employers violate US employment law if their propensity to contact applicants depends on protected characteristics such as race or sex. We establish identification of higher moments of the causal effects of protected characteristics on callback rates as a function of the number of fictitious applications sent to each job ad. These moments are used to bound the fraction of jobs that illegally discriminate. Applying our results to three experimental datasets, we find evidence of significant employer heterogeneity in discriminatory behavior, with the standard deviation of gaps in job-specific callback probabilities across protected groups averaging roughly twice the mean gap. In a recent experiment manipulating racially distinctive names, we estimate that at least 85% of jobs that contact both of two white applications and neither of two black applications are engaged in illegal discrimination. To assess the tradeoff between type I and II errors presented by these patterns, we consider the performance of a series of decision rules for investigating suspicious callback behavior under a simple two-type model that rationalizes the experimental data. Though, in our preferred specification, only 17% of employers are estimated to discriminate on the basis of race, we find that an experiment sending 10 applications to each job would enable accurate detection of 7-10% of discriminators while falsely accusing fewer than 0.2% of non-discriminators. A minimax decision rule acknowledging partial identification of the joint distribution of callback rates yields higher error rates but more investigations than our baseline two-type model. Our results suggest illegal labor market discrimination can be reliably monitored with relatively small modifications to existing audit designs.


Artificial intelligence could 'evolve faster than the human race'

#artificialintelligence

A sinister threat is brewing deep inside the technology laboratories of Silicon Valley, according to Professor Stephen Hawking. Artificial Intelligence, disguised as helpful digital assistants and self-driving vehicles, is gaining a foothold, and it could one day spell the end for mankind. The world-renowned professor has warned robots could evolve faster than humans and their goals will be unpredictable. Professor Stephen Hawking (pictured) claimed AI would be difficult to stop if the appropriate safeguards are not in place. During a talk in Cannes, Google's chairman Eric Schmidt said AI will be developed for the benefit of humanity and there will be systems in place in case anything goes awry.


Professor Stephen Hawking warns of rogue robot rebellion evolving faster than humans

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A sinister threat is brewing deep inside the technology laboratories of Silicon Valley, according to Professor Stephen Hawking. Artificial Intelligence, disguised as helpful digital assistants and self-driving vehicles, is gaining a foothold, and it could one day spell the end for mankind. The world-renowned professor has warned robots could evolve faster than humans and their goals will be unpredictable. Professor Stephen Hawking (pictured) claimed AI would be difficult to stop if the appropriate safeguards are not in place. During a talk in Cannes, Google's chairman Eric Schmidt said AI will be developed for the benefit of humanity and there will be systems in place in case anything goes awry.


Amazon Argues Alexa Speech Protected By First Amendment In Murder Trial Fight

Forbes - Tech

An Amazon Echo device is displayed at the Ford booth at CES 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 5, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Amazon is sticking to its guns in the fight to protect customer data. The tech titan has filed a motion to quash the search warrant for recordings from an Amazon Echo in the trial of James Andrew Bates, accused of murdering friend Victor Collins in Bentonville, Arkansas in November 2015. And it's arguing that the responses of Alexa, the voice of the Echo, has First Amendment rights as part of that motion. The case first came to light in December, when it emerged Amazon was contesting an order to provide audio from the Echo device, during the 48-hour period from November 21 through 22 2015, alongside subscriber and account information.


Free speech debate erupts over prosecutor's efforts to get audio from Amazon Alexa

#artificialintelligence

A free speech debate has erupted over Amazon's efforts to prevent prosecutors from obtaining audio that was recorded by one of the company's new Alexa personal assistants. Prosecutors in Arkansas say the audio could be important to proving the first-degree murder charge that it filed against James Andrew Bates, who is accused of killing a friend, Victor Collins. Bates' home had an Amazon Alexa, a device that can answer questions and perform simple functions, such as playing music. The voice-activated device is complemented by Echo, which contains speakers and microphones. Seattle-based Amazon says that the data recorded by the device, and the responses from the Alexa operating system, are protected by the First Amendment.