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How do you make an ethical algorithm?

Machine learning, which trains computers to accomplish specific tasks without receiving explicit instructions from humans, has become an increasingly valuable tool for a variety of industries. But the rapid incorporation of machine learning into marketing, finance, healthcare, and other fields has raised a range of ethical concerns that must be addressed. That was the message…
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Published On: August 29, 2019 |
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Is the facial recognition search of driver’s licenses by ICE hurting minorities?

Facial recognition software is coming into increasingly common use as a high-tech security measure. But is it always ethical? The question is in the news following a report that agents with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been surreptitiously using facial recognition technology to scan driver’s license photos for information about immigrants who are in…
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Published On: August 19, 2019 |
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The story behind the data on mass murder in the United States

News coverage in the days following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, relied upon a common source for context: The AP/USATODAY/Northeastern University Mass Killing database. That’s because it’s the most comprehensive, most up-to-date repository of information on U.S. mass killings, says James Alan Fox, who is a criminologist at Northeastern University and one of the nation’s leading researchers on mass murder. It’s research by Fox,…
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Published On: August 15, 2019 | Tags: ,
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Bad when it’s inaccurate, but even worse when it’s accurate

This month, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and other agencies, taking an “historic and important first step toward recognizing the unique danger” of the technology, says Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University. Akin to a more sophisticated fingerprint analysis, facial recognition software—which matches photos…
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Published On: May 21, 2019 |
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He’s making tech companies accountable for the algorithms they use on you

Northeastern computer science professor Christo Wilson wants to make people aware of how algorithms work, while getting the companies that use them to be more open about and accountable for how they work. Among Wilson’s findings was a glitch in its algorithm of the ride-hailing company Uber that caused some customers to be incorrectly charged higher prices than others, which…
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Published On: March 27, 2019 |
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He found a privacy breach. Facebook gave him a grant to plug the leak.

Northeastern computer science professor Christo Wilson wants to make people aware of how algorithms work, while getting the companies that use them to be more open about and accountable for how they work. Among Wilson’s findings was a glitch in its algorithm of the ride-hailing company Uber that caused some customers to be incorrectly charged higher prices than others, which…
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Published On: August 21, 2018 |
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The Internet, newsworthiness, and invasion of privacy

Has the Internet blurred the line between newsworthiness and invasion of privacy? It’s one of the central questions in the ongoing jury trial pitting former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan against gossip site Gawker. In 2012, Gawker posted a short clip of Hogan, whose real name is Terry G. Bollea, having sex with his friend’s wife. Hogan,…
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Published On: March 9, 2016 |
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