Anne Washington, assistant professor of data policy, gave the audience a crash course in data ethics in a presentation titled, Whose Side Is Credible? The Case for Public Interest Technology.
Washington, who has testified before the United States Congress’ House Financial Services Committee last fall, noted that there has been a sea-change in how societies develop ethical standards.
“For centuries human beings were assumed to be driving ethics; today computer systems act on behalf of humans and ethical questions arise when actions violate the public trust,” she said.
Washington also described the collaborative work her students have been engaged in since they completed her Ethics of Data Science course. In the working group they formed last summer, Applied Statistics students, Molly Nystrom and Shannon Kay, applied their classroom learning as Washington’s research assistants. The first paper from this collaboration is Whose Side are Ethics Codes On? Power, Responsibility and the Social Good by Washington and Rachel Kuo, lead researcher, and MCC doctoral candidate.
For centuries human beings were assumed to be driving ethics; today computer systems act on behalf of humans and ethical questions arise when actions violate the public trust."