Automated Decision-Making



Bethany Waterhouse-Bradley


Hall G


11:45 - 13:00 Friday






Algorithmic decision making using big data is increasingly employed in ways which directly affect people’s lives. It is unclear, however, the extent to which the public understands how human ethics and morality determine the algorithms which are employed to make decisions, or understand the process of collecting and utilising their data in order to ‘train’ and inform the decision-making or predictive system. In order to ensure that democratic decision-making processes including machine learning algorithms do not exclude the individuals most affected by their outcomes, there must be investment in awareness raising and capacity building for the public to feel confident in advocating for their interests in this process. This hands-on workshop will attempt to increase awareness and capacity in algorithmic decision making, and encourage participants to reflect on how these processes might impact on their lives. Finally, it will work with participants to design ways in which it can play an active part in the development of automated decision-making processes and in enacting their rights and protections with relation to the data which informs it.

While there is early evidence on the attitudes of the public on data sharing (NILT, 2016) and towards artificial intelligence (Pew, 2018), there is little certainty of what attitudes are held about how the machines and systems should be trained and designed. Using the practical example of designing a driverless car, this study will seek to use interactive workshops to increase understanding of the key ethical and moral issues surrounding challenges in designing intelligent systems, while also capturing attitudes towards regulation, privatisation, engagement and acceptability of intelligent systems in everyday life. Using an interactive, games-based approach, this study will invite participants to work together to design an ‘ethical driverless car’. Through this work, participants will be exposed to the decision-making process involved in developing algorithms, and researchers will glean data on public opinions about an increasingly important policy issue through debate and deliberation; which allows for a more in depth understanding than simple agreement or disagreement with the use of algorithms in public services.

This workshop will employ a participatory approach and will borrow from ‘gamification’ methods – using an interactive activity to both inform participants and understand public engagement with an important social problem.