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The Contestation of Tech Ethics: A Sociotechnical Approach to Ethics and Technology in Action

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Recent controversies related to topics such as fake news, privacy, and algorithmic bias have prompted increased public scrutiny of digital technologies and soul-searching among many of the people associated with their development. In response, the tech industry, academia, civil society, and governments have rapidly increased their attention to "ethics" in the design and use of digital technologies ("tech ethics"). Yet almost as quickly as ethics discourse has proliferated across the world of digital technologies, the limitations of these approaches have also become apparent: tech ethics is vague and toothless, is subsumed into corporate logics and incentives, and has a myopic focus on individual engineers and technology design rather than on the structures and cultures of technology production. As a result of these limitations, many have grown skeptical of tech ethics and its proponents, charging them with "ethics-washing": promoting ethics research and discourse to defuse criticism and government regulation without committing to ethical behavior. By looking at how ethics has been taken up in both science and business in superficial and depoliticizing ways, I recast tech ethics as a terrain of contestation where the central fault line is not whether it is desirable to be ethical, but what "ethics" entails and who gets to define it. This framing highlights the significant limits of current approaches to tech ethics and the importance of studying the formulation and real-world effects of tech ethics. In order to identify and develop more rigorous strategies for reforming digital technologies and the social relations that they mediate, I describe a sociotechnical approach to tech ethics, one that reflexively applies many of tech ethics' own lessons regarding digital technologies to tech ethics itself.


Correcting public opinion trends through Bayesian data assimilation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Measuring public opinion is a key focus during democratic elections, enabling candidates to gauge their popularity and alter their campaign strategies accordingly. Traditional survey polling remains the most popular estimation technique, despite its cost and time intensity, measurement errors, lack of real-time capabilities and lagged representation of public opinion. In recent years, Twitter opinion mining has attempted to combat these issues. Despite achieving promising results, it experiences its own set of shortcomings such as an unrepresentative sample population and a lack of long term stability. This paper aims to merge data from both these techniques using Bayesian data assimilation to arrive at a more accurate estimate of true public opinion for the Brexit referendum. This paper demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed approach using Twitter opinion data and survey data from trusted pollsters. Firstly, the possible existence of a time gap of 16 days between the two data sets is identified. This gap is subsequently incorporated into a proposed assimilation architecture. This method was found to adequately incorporate information from both sources and measure a strong upward trend in Leave support leading up to the Brexit referendum. The proposed technique provides useful estimates of true opinion, which is essential to future opinion measurement and forecasting research.


What Happens When Our Faces Are Tracked Everywhere We Go?

#artificialintelligence

When a secretive start-up scraped the internet to build a facial-recognition tool, it tested a legal and ethical limit -- and blew the future of privacy in America wide open. In May 2019, an agent at the Department of Homeland Security received a trove of unsettling images. Found by Yahoo in a Syrian user's account, the photos seemed to document the sexual abuse of a young girl. One showed a man with his head reclined on a pillow, gazing directly at the camera. The man appeared to be white, with brown hair and a goatee, but it was hard to really make him out; the photo was grainy, the angle a bit oblique. The agent sent the man's face to child-crime investigators around the country in the hope that someone might recognize him. When an investigator in New York saw the request, she ran the face through an unusual new facial-recognition app she had just started using, called Clearview AI. The team behind it had scraped the public web -- social media, employment sites, YouTube, Venmo -- to create a database with three billion images of people, along with links to the webpages from which the photos had come. This dwarfed the databases of other such products for law enforcement, which drew only on official photography like mug shots, driver's licenses and passport pictures; with Clearview, it was effortless to go from a face to a Facebook account. The app turned up an odd hit: an Instagram photo of a heavily muscled Asian man and a female fitness model, posing on a red carpet at a bodybuilding expo in Las Vegas. The suspect was neither Asian nor a woman. But upon closer inspection, you could see a white man in the background, at the edge of the photo's frame, standing behind the counter of a booth for a workout-supplements company. On Instagram, his face would appear about half as big as your fingernail. The federal agent was astounded. The agent contacted the supplements company and obtained the booth worker's name: Andres Rafael Viola, who turned out to be an Argentine citizen living in Las Vegas.


Computer program has near-perfect record spotting deepfakes by examining reflection in the eyes

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Computer scientists have developed a tool that detects deepfake photos with near-perfect accuracy. The system, which analyzes light reflections in a subject's eyes, proved 94 percent effective in experiments. In real portraits, the light reflected in our eyes is generally in the same shape and color, because both eyes are looking at the same thing. Since deepfakes are composites made from many different photos, most omit this crucial detail. Deepfakes became a particular concern during the 2020 US presidential election, raising concerns they'd be use to discredit candidates and spread disinformation.


Random Walks with Erasure: Diversifying Personalized Recommendations on Social and Information Networks

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Most existing personalization systems promote items that match a user's previous choices or those that are popular among similar users. This results in recommendations that are highly similar to the ones users are already exposed to, resulting in their isolation inside familiar but insulated information silos. In this context, we develop a novel recommendation framework with a goal of improving information diversity using a modified random walk exploration of the user-item graph. We focus on the problem of political content recommendation, while addressing a general problem applicable to personalization tasks in other social and information networks. For recommending political content on social networks, we first propose a new model to estimate the ideological positions for both users and the content they share, which is able to recover ideological positions with high accuracy. Based on these estimated positions, we generate diversified personalized recommendations using our new random-walk based recommendation algorithm. With experimental evaluations on large datasets of Twitter discussions, we show that our method based on \emph{random walks with erasure} is able to generate more ideologically diverse recommendations. Our approach does not depend on the availability of labels regarding the bias of users or content producers. With experiments on open benchmark datasets from other social and information networks, we also demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in recommending diverse long-tail items.


Finding the Narrative with Natural Language Processing

#artificialintelligence

In general, text pre-processing should include lowercasing all words, removing punctuation and stop words, and stemming or lemmatization. When working with tweets, in addition to the normal text-preprocessing tasks we also have to consider hashtags, acronyms, re-tweet syntax ('RT @scrapfishies:…'), emojis, and other elements. Should hashtags be be segmented (divided into their unique words) or kept as a single concatenated string? Well, I'd argue that it depends on the hashtag. As an example, the #blacklivesmatter hashtag was used frequently in this corpus -- segmenting would give us 3 distinct tokens: 'black', 'lives', and'matter'.


Hierarchical Multi-head Attentive Network for Evidence-aware Fake News Detection

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

To detect fake news, researchers proposed to use The proliferation of biased news, misleading linguistics and textual content (Castillo et al., 2011; claims, disinformation and fake news has caused Zhao et al., 2015; Liu et al., 2015). Since textual heightened negative effects on modern society in claims are usually deliberately written to deceive various domains ranging from politics, economics readers, it is hard to detect fake news by solely to public health. A recent study showed that maliciously relying on the content claims. Therefore, multiple fabricated and partisan stories possibly works utilized other signals such as temporal caused citizens' misperception about political candidates spreading patterns (Liu and Wu, 2018), network (Allcott and Gentzkow, 2017) during the structures (Wu and Liu, 2018; Vo and Lee, 2018; 2016 U.S. presidential elections. In economics, the Shu et al., 2020) and users' feedbacks (Vo and spread of fake news has manipulated stock price Lee, 2019; Shu et al., 2019; Vo and Lee, 2020a).


Problematic Machine Behavior: A Systematic Literature Review of Algorithm Audits

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

While algorithm audits are growing rapidly in commonality and public importance, relatively little scholarly work has gone toward synthesizing prior work and strategizing future research in the area. This systematic literature review aims to do just that, following PRISMA guidelines in a review of over 500 English articles that yielded 62 algorithm audit studies. The studies are synthesized and organized primarily by behavior (discrimination, distortion, exploitation, and misjudgement), with codes also provided for domain (e.g. search, vision, advertising, etc.), organization (e.g. Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.), and audit method (e.g. sock puppet, direct scrape, crowdsourcing, etc.). The review shows how previous audit studies have exposed public-facing algorithms exhibiting problematic behavior, such as search algorithms culpable of distortion and advertising algorithms culpable of discrimination. Based on the studies reviewed, it also suggests some behaviors (e.g. discrimination on the basis of intersectional identities), domains (e.g. advertising algorithms), methods (e.g. code auditing), and organizations (e.g. Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn) that call for future audit attention. The paper concludes by offering the common ingredients of successful audits, and discussing algorithm auditing in the context of broader research working toward algorithmic justice.


Deepfakes and the 2020 US elections: what (did not) happen

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

In retrospect, Nisos experts made the right forecast. However, this was a clear minority opinion. Before and after their report, dozens of politicians and institutions drew considerable attention to the approaching danger: 'imagine a scenario where, on the eve of next year's presidential election, the Democratic nominee appears in a video where he or she endorses President Trump. Now, imagine it the other way around.' (Sprangler, 2019). It is fair to say that deepfakes' high potential for disinformation was noticed long before these hypothetical consequences were evoked, mainly because they were revealed to be highly credible. Two examples: 'In an online quiz, 49 percent of people who visited our site said they incorrectly believed Nixon's synthetically altered face was real and 65 percent thought his voice was real' (Panetta et al, 2020), or'Two-thirds of participants believed that one day it would be impossible to discern a real video from a fake one.


Machine Learning Towards Intelligent Systems: Applications, Challenges, and Opportunities

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The emergence and continued reliance on the Internet and related technologies has resulted in the generation of large amounts of data that can be made available for analyses. However, humans do not possess the cognitive capabilities to understand such large amounts of data. Machine learning (ML) provides a mechanism for humans to process large amounts of data, gain insights about the behavior of the data, and make more informed decision based on the resulting analysis. ML has applications in various fields. This review focuses on some of the fields and applications such as education, healthcare, network security, banking and finance, and social media. Within these fields, there are multiple unique challenges that exist. However, ML can provide solutions to these challenges, as well as create further research opportunities. Accordingly, this work surveys some of the challenges facing the aforementioned fields and presents some of the previous literature works that tackled them. Moreover, it suggests several research opportunities that benefit from the use of ML to address these challenges.