International project explores social impact of algorithms

May 17, 2018

A project led by CSDA’s Co-Director Rhema Vaithianathan, is exploring community perspectives on the use of algorithms by government in New Zealand and the United States.

The pilot project explores whether it is possible to create guidelines for trusted use of algorithms that are informed by the community, through a series of workshops with professionals and families with experience of the child welfare systems in New Zealand and the United States.

Collaborators on the project are Anna Brown and Andrew Tobin (Toi Āria, Massey University, NZ), Alexandra Chouldechova (Carnegie Mellon University, PA, USA) and Emily Putnam-Hornstein (University of Southern California, CA, USA).

The project is funded by a subsidiary of the international Association for Computing Machinery:  the Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD).   The SIGKDD Impact Program funding (worth a total of USD$250,000 in 2018) is one of key ways SIGKDD is working to direct its focus towards broader positive societal impact.  Leaders of the seven funded projects, including Rhema Vaithianathan, will present interim reports on their work at the SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in London in August 2018.  Projects leads will also submit final reports with an emphasis on the project impact and findings.

The goal of the Impact Program is to support projects that promote data science, increase its impact on society, and help the data science community.

SIGKDD says:  “The call for SIGKDD Impact Program proposals resulted in a broad participation with 75 submissions from 20 countries, covering a wide range of topics. 7 proposals from 5 countries were awarded funding according to the program selection criteria: enhancing data science community engagement, expanding outreach of data science, increasing diversity and participation in data science, increasing societal impact of data science, and influencing public policy through data science.”

Find out more about all the 2018 SIGKDD Impact Program projects here.

The Association for Computing Machinery is the worlds’ largest scientific and educational computing society, headquartered in the United States.