IMPAKT Event: Judging the Machine

19 May 2018
17:00 — 19:30

Location: IMPAKT Centre for Media Culture

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

Joanna J. Bryson is a transdisciplinary researcher on the structure and dynamics of human- and animal-like intelligence. Her research covering topics from artificial intelligence, through autonomy and robot ethics, and on to human cooperation has appeared in venues ranging from a reddit to Science.

Helen Knowles

Helen Knowles is an artist exploring AI ethics and accountability. She has a BA Hons from Glasgow School of Art and MFA Fine Art from Goldsmiths University. She lectures widely around the UK and abroad. A recipient of awards from Arts Council England and The Amateurs Trust, in 2012 she won the Neo Art Prize, Great Art Prize for two works from the Youtube Portraits Series. She is one of seven artists on the Fault Lines programme, Future Everything. She is the curator of the Birth Rites Collection, Kings College London and was recently shortlisted for the Deutsche Bank DBACE Prize.

• Maaike Harbers

Maaike Harbers is a research professor in Artificial Intelligence & Society at Knowledge Center Creating 010, and a senior lecturer at the Creative Media and Game Technologies program, both at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Her work focuses on artificial intelligence, ethics and design. She studies how designers can create interactive, intelligent technology in a responsible way by accounting for the ethical implications of their concepts during design time.


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 MachineThis 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.

Impakt Event: Judging the Machine  ;

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