Data, Algorithms, Justice, & Fairness: An Ulam Lecture with Cris Moore
Computers, algorithms, and artificial intelligence have touched every aspect of our society, from science, to communication, to the justice system. But despite their enormous power, computers have fundamental limits — problems that no program can solve, and thorny issues in fairness and human rights. During this 26th year of the popular Ulam Lecture Series, SFI Professor Cristopher Moore looks at two sides of computation — the mathematical structures that make problems easy or hard, and the growing debate about fairness in algorithmic predictions.
This is the second of two lectures presented as part of SFI's Annual Stanislaw Ulam Memorial Lecture Series. These two lectures are self-contained, and can be enjoyed together or separately.
The title of the lecture presented on Tuesday, September 25th is "Data, Algorithms, Justice, and Fairness"
Algorithms are being used to decide whether defendants will show up for court, whether they should be released on bail, and whether they will be good citizens if they are given parole. How accurate are these algorithms? What data are they based on? And how fair are they to different subgroups of the population? Over the past few years, a controversy has erupted over the issue of algorithmic fairness — whether these algorithms treat some people differently than others. Moore leads us through how these algorithms work, what data they are based on, and how “fairness” and “accuracy” are slippery terms. Can decisions made by AI be explained to the humans affected by them? What recourse do we have if we disagree with them? Will algorithms help us move forward to a better future, or will they encode and enshrine the biases of the past?
Cristopher Moore is a Professor at the Santa Fe Institute where he works on problems at the interface of mathematics, computer science, and physics. The co-author of The Nature of Computation (Oxford University Press), a classic textbook in modern mathematics, Moore has also written more than 150 scientific papers on topics ranging from quantum computing to the theory of social networks.
Moore is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the American Mathematical Society.
SFI's Community Lecture series is underwritten by Thornburg Investment Management, with generous support from the Lensic Performing Arts Center, and Enterprise Holdings Foundation.