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Please join us on November 5, from 10–11am (Eastern) for a talk by Professor Michael Kearns, University of Pennsylvania, as part of the “Information, Algorithms, and Justice” speaker series. Professor Kearns will share his research in a brief talk titled “The Ethical Algorithm,” followed by a discussion with other experts and questions from the audience.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. RSVP here.

Talk abstract:

Many recent mainstream media articles and popular books have raised alarms over antisocial algorithmic behavior, especially regarding machine learning and artificial intelligence. The concerns include leaks of sensitive personal data by predictive models, algorithmic discrimination as a side effect of machine learning, and inscrutable decisions made by complex models. While standard and legitimate responses to these phenomena include calls for stronger and better laws and regulations, researchers in machine learning, statistics, and related areas are also working on designing better-behaved algorithms. An explosion of recent research in areas such as differential privacy, algorithmic fairness, and algorithmic game theory is forging a new science of socially aware algorithm design. I will survey these developments and attempt to place them in a broader societal context. This talk is largely based on the book The Ethical Algorithm, co-authored with Aaron Roth (Oxford University Press).

Following this brief talk, Kearns will engage with three discussants from the Northeastern community: Usama Fayyad, Executive Director for the Institute of Experiential Artificial Intelligence, Tina Eliassi-Rad, professor of computer science at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences, and H.C. Robinson, Associate Professor of Law and Sociology.

Speaker biography: 

Michael Kearns is a Professor and the National Center Chair in the Computer and Information Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research interests include machine learning, algorithmic game theory, quantitative finance and related topics. He has secondary appointments in Penn’s Economics Department, and in the departments of Statistics and Operations, and Information and Decisions (OID) at the Wharton School. Kearns also has a role at Amazon as part of its Amazon Scholars program, focusing on algorithmic fairness, privacy, machine learning, and related topics within Amazon Web Services. He is the co-author of the general-audience book "The Ethical Algorithm" (with Aaron Roth; Oxford University Press 2019).

Kearns has worked extensively in quantitative and algorithmic trading on Wall Street (including at Lehman Brothers, Bank of America, SAC Capital, and Morgan Stanley). In the past he has served as an adviser to technology companies and venture capital firms. He has also occasionally served as an  expert witness or consultant on technology-related legal and regulatory cases. Kearns is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association for Computing Machinery, the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and the Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory.

We will be including automated live captioning during the event. To make space for informal discussions, this event will not be recorded for public distribution. Please RSVP by 5pm on November 4th—late RSVPs are still welcome, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to send the join link before the start of the event. 

  • Sarah Sweeney
  • Jeffrey Wang
  • Ryan Muther
  • Miklos Mattyasovszky

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