Impakt Event: Judging the Machine 19 May 2018

still from The Trial of the Superdebthunterbot
17:00 - 19:30
Impakt Center for Media Culture
10 euro (7,50 with discount)
Buy your ticket online

Over the past few years, artificial intelligence has become a constant presence in our lives, recommending news articles, recognising faces and providing customer support. Machine learning algorithms have moved beyond shaping our daily practices to automating fundamental decisions that affect individual freedom, including applications in credit scoring and prison sentencing. In the meantime, the ethical components of these systems – fairness, accountability and transparency – as well as the necessary legal regulation have been slow to catch up with the rapid technological progress. As the scope and power of these AI systems expands, so do the concerns around algorithmic bias and interpretability.

This event looks at the dimensions of ethics, accountability and justice in a post-truth world. How should we assign blame and responsibility when engaging with robots and AI systems? Is the creator of the algorithm, the executor or the algorithm itself to blame? How does this influence our development of these systems, the laws and the social codes around this?


Joanna Bryson (Bath University)

Helen Knowles (artist)

• Maaike Harbers (Hogeschool Rotterdam)


The Trial of the Superdebthunterbot, Helen Knowles (45 min)

The work imagines a speculative scenario in which the intelligent algorithm “Superdebthunterbot” is put on trial, questioning ethics and accountability in relation to the increasing and often unseen computer automation of our lives. “Superdebthunterbot” is an algorithm created by a debt collecting company to ensure fewer loan defaulters, and is already responsible for several deaths.


5 pm: screening of The Trial of the Superdebthunterbot by Helen Knowles (UK, 2016)

6 pm: Panel discussion Judging the Machine

This programme is curated by Luba Elliott (UK), Alex Anikina (UK/RU) and Yasemin Keskintepe (DE), curators of the Impakt Festival 2018. The curators will give a brief introduction of the upcoming festival and take part in the panel discussion.