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eLaw panel on Art and Algorithmic Accountability at CPDP 2021

In January 2021, eLaw joined the Computers Privacy and Data Protection (CPDP) Conference that is about privacy and data protection. The group on Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University put together a panel that combined perspectives on Art, Society, & Technology.

eLaw - Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University, hosted a panel at CPDP 2021 on algorithmic accountability. The panel started with an overview of how the Arts play an essential role in intervening in critical social issues, such as labor politics, privacy, and education. The panel then drew our attention to a specific case scenario, i.e., urban algorithmic accountability. We learned about the digitization of cities and how municipal data professionals can give testimony of algorithmic-based decisions that affect citizens. The panel closed with some artistic perspectives on transparency and the role that education plays in stressing the importance of being accountable in an increasingly algorithmic society.

The panel discussion was divided into three clusters:

(1) the Interplay of Art, Society and Technology

Peter Booth (BI Norwegian Business School, NO) and Fiona McDermott (Trinity College Dublin, IE) gave an input presentation on the EU Project Artsformation in arts, society, & technology. Peter will briefly outline the scope and aims of the Artsformation project, and will present key processes by which the arts may impact digital transformation. Fiona will discuss the interplay between the Arts and enterprise in relation to digital transformation, she will present examples from three different relationships between the Arts and enterprise; residing, consulting and embedding, and she will discuss some of the opportunities and limitations for how these types of Arts/enterprise engagements might intervene in critical socio-political issues emerging from contemporary technology development.

(2) Algorithmic Accountability and Art

Maranke Wieringa is a Ph.D. Candidate and lecturer at Utrecht University, where she is affiliated with the Datafied Society research platform. Her current research focuses on algorithmic accountability in Dutch municipalities. In the Artountability Panel, Maranke Wieringa (Utrecht University, NL) introduced a project in which she co-designs a practical tool to foster algorithmic accountability together with practitioners (BIAS). For this section, Lucas Evers (WAAG Foundation, NL) introduced different projects focusing on algorithmic accountability and art (Anatomy of an AI by Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler, Constrained Cities by Art is Open Source, Training Humans by Kate Crawford and Trevor Paglen, Normalising Machine by Mushon Zer-Aviv).

(3) Art, Education, and Responsibility

Piera Riccio (Oslo Metropolitan University, NO; MetaLAB at Harvard, US) presented AI Oracle, an interactive art installation that addresses the topic of bias and discrimination due to autonomous decision making in working contexts. Vincent Rioux (National Superior School of Fine Arts, FR) will talk about the role of education at the intersection of accountability and art.

  • How the complex (anatomyof.ai) technical toolboxes of AI can be used and understood by art students ? Following the findings of Gilbert Simondon and John Dewey, this could be achieved if great care is taken both for explaining the precise functions and behaviours of these apparently mental-like devices and for going through deep experiences tracing collectively an artistic path.
  • Why most of the artistic works produced by AI look like hallucinations (aiartonline.com) ? It may well be so that a responsible use of such techniques might require a transition from visual and textual imagination to a digital and procedural thinking. And here a specific treatment of recursivity and amplification functions found in our information technology systems might help.

If you missed the panel, you can watch it here on youtube:

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About CPDP: As a world-leading multidisciplinary conference, CPDP offers the cutting edge in legal, regulatory, academic and technological development in privacy and data protection. Within an atmosphere of independence and mutual respect, CPDP gathers academics, lawyers, practitioners, policy-makers, industry and civil society from all over the world in Brussels, offering them an arena to exchange ideas and discuss the latest emerging issues and trends. This unique multidisciplinary formula has served to make CPDP one of the leading data protection and privacy conferences in Europe and around the world.

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