The time has come for the establishment of an institute of algorithmic accountability, author and data scientist Cathy O’Neil writes in the New York Times this month. It is her contention that the wider academic community is ‘asleep at the wheel’ when it comes to examining and critiquing the ethics if technology currently being developed in academic research labs and in industry.
She writes; ‘We urgently need an academic institute focused on algorithmic accountability. First, it should provide a comprehensive ethical training for future engineers and data scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with case studies taken from real-world algorithms [… ] Lecturers from humanities, social sciences and philosophy departments should weigh in.’
The case study initiative at the Magna Carta for Data Project was established with the objective of making data ethics case studies available to a wide audience, and encouraging dialogue between data researchers and between technical and non-technical academics with an interest in developing sound data ethics frameworks for research.