[SIGCIS-Members] Some suggestions on the early history of the ethics of AI

Luke Stark luke.stark at nyu.edu
Tue Apr 24 11:17:03 PDT 2018


I’ll repay Mar’s kind shoutout with a plug for her own excellent Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing, which among many other contributions articulates how concepts and discourses of “intelligence” are always gendered (especially in the history of computing/AI).

I’ll also plug Jacob Gaboury’s series of articles in Rhizome from several years ago on the queer history of computing along similar lines: http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/feb/19/queer-computing-1/ <http://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/feb/19/queer-computing-1/>

More broadly, I think (along with many, some of whom Mar and others have named) it’s valuable to consider “ethics” as a capacious term. The “ethos” of a society covers a lot (social mores, culture, habits, customs, biases, etc etc)!


> On Apr 24, 2018, at 1:55 PM, M. Hicks <mhicks1 at iit.edu> wrote:
> 
> Hi Debbie (and all),
> 
> I'd suggest Safiya Noble's _Algorithms of Oppression_. Chapters of it have been excerpted around the web--in Time magazine and Wired--if you want to give just a small section to your undergrads.
> 
> I'd also suggest the article about CCM in the Atlantic by Sarah Roberts, which I use in my classes--it's important for students to understand how AI gets implemented and trained. Cynthia B. Lee, a computer scientist at Stanford is also working on these issues and may have some articles that would work for an undergraduate audience.
> 
> Then there's Meredith Broussard's new _Artificial Unintelligence_ and Virginia Eubanks's _Automating Inequality_. Simone Browne's _Dark Matters_ is useful since the history of AI is also a history of surveillance, relying as it does on categorization and data collection. Latanya Sweeney also has several good articles about the racial and gender biases that construct google search.
> 
> I also often have my undergrads read Alan Turing's 1950 article in Mind, and talk about how Turing's life and the context of postwar Britain affected his work. I find that giving them the context of early AI research (codebreaking, queerness) alongside the article really helps them recognize the stakes--and that so many of the "new" issues we're confronting today aren't really new at all.
> 
> Also keep an eye on the work of Luke Stark: https://starkcontrast.co/book <https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fstarkcontrast.co%2Fbook&data=02%7C01%7Cluke.stark%40dartmouth.edu%7C3ae33c10871d4f4d7a0608d5aa0c961f%7C995b093648d640e5a31ebf689ec9446f%7C0%7C0%7C636601893397310934&sdata=2OVpt3VaY6DPhNS1sK3R4p%2FT1vUT1VC5OwlhTZ3wk3w%3D&reserved=0>
> And, within a year or two there will be a new edited volume called Your Computer is On Fire published by MIT Press (coedited by Tom Mullaney, Kavita Philip, Ben Peters, and myself) pitched towards undergrads and the general public that looks at the history of everything from Siri's accent imperialism to transphobic algorithmic bias.
> 
> Best,
> Mar
> 
> --written from my phone while traveling, please excuse errors--
> ______________________
> Marie Hicks, Ph.D.
> Asst. Professor, History of Technology
> Illinois Institute of Technology
> Chicago, IL USA
> mhicks1 at iit.edu <mailto:mhicks1 at iit.edu> | mariehicks.net <https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mariehicks.net%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cluke.stark%40dartmouth.edu%7C3ae33c10871d4f4d7a0608d5aa0c961f%7C995b093648d640e5a31ebf689ec9446f%7C0%7C0%7C636601893397310934&sdata=fFjmAbX8yD%2Fged590iSlQ5Ua73j3A5jj9iU4GmR8G9Q%3D&reserved=0> | @histoftech <https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fhistoftech&data=02%7C01%7Cluke.stark%40dartmouth.edu%7C3ae33c10871d4f4d7a0608d5aa0c961f%7C995b093648d640e5a31ebf689ec9446f%7C0%7C0%7C636601893397310934&sdata=fVj86SoOtR2plABsGNg7py0xKur444WYCFoTmuxrKdU%3D&reserved=0>
> Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing
> www.programmedinequality.com <https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.programmedinequality.com%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cluke.stark%40dartmouth.edu%7C3ae33c10871d4f4d7a0608d5aa0c961f%7C995b093648d640e5a31ebf689ec9446f%7C0%7C0%7C636601893397310934&sdata=udp4EAFOF5wwwcjjOId6sVydfHAbjn%2BnQLJ5UBt24dI%3D&reserved=0>
> 
> 
> On Apr 22, 2018, at 8:21 PM, Deborah Douglas <ddouglas at mit.edu <mailto:ddouglas at mit.edu>> wrote:
> 
> I am appealing to the collective for some quick recommendations to help one of my undergraduates interested in the early history of ethics and artificial intelligence.  What sorts of articles or books have others used in their classes with undergraduates to help them understand the key issues and concerns?
> 
> Many thanks,
> 
> Debbie Douglas
> 
> Deborah G. Douglas, PhD • Director of Collections and Curator of Science and Technology, MIT Museum, Room N51-209 • 265 Massachusetts Avenue • Cambridge, MA 02139-4307 • http://web.mit.edu/museum <https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fweb.mit.edu%2Fmuseum&data=02%7C01%7Cluke.stark%40dartmouth.edu%7C3ae33c10871d4f4d7a0608d5aa0c961f%7C995b093648d640e5a31ebf689ec9446f%7C0%7C0%7C636601893397310934&sdata=5vXtBkOBRNfMImZF31Un%2FPg4yB99JQrSicrYwC1vbqA%3D&reserved=0>  •  http://museum.mit.edu/150 <https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmuseum.mit.edu%2F150&data=02%7C01%7Cluke.stark%40dartmouth.edu%7C3ae33c10871d4f4d7a0608d5aa0c961f%7C995b093648d640e5a31ebf689ec9446f%7C0%7C0%7C636601893397467191&sdata=aR%2B7GgL4tcjRxejqAQoJ5SCCy%2Fm4G320hpO3i8B9WJ8%3D&reserved=0> • ddouglas at mit.edu <mailto:ddouglas at mit.edu> •  617-253-1766 phone  •  617-253-8994 fax
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