Consequences of an Insightful Algorithm

*
Accepted Session
Keynote
Beginner
Scheduled: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 from 9:00 – 9:45am in Sanctuary

Excerpt

We have ethical responsibilities when coding. We're able to extract remarkably precise intuitions about an individual. But do we have a right to know what they didn't consent to share, even when they willingly shared the data that leads us there? How do we mitigate against unintended outcomes? In this talk, we'll learn how to build in systematic empathy, integrate practices for examining how our code might harm individuals, and net consequences that can be better for everyone.

Description

Content Notice: this talk addresses problems in how developers deal with sensitive topics such as grieving, PTSD, depression, miscarriage, infertility, surveillance, racial profiling, sexual history, consent, and assault.

We have ethical responsibilities when coding. We’re able to extract remarkably precise intuitions about an individual. But do we have a right to know what they didn’t consent to share, even when they willingly shared the data that leads us there? A major retailer’s data-driven marketing accidentally revealed to a teen’s family that she was pregnant. Eek.

What are our obligations to people who did not expect themselves to be so intimately known without sharing directly? How do we mitigate against unintended outcomes? For instance, an activity tracker carelessly revealed users’ sexual activity data to search engines. A social network’s algorithm accidentally triggered painful memories for grieving families who’d recently experienced death of their child and other loved ones.

We design software for humans. Balancing human needs and business specs can be tough. It’s crucial that we learn how to build in systematic empathy.

In this talk, we’ll delve into specific examples of uncritical programming, and painful results from using insightful data in ways that were benignly intended. You’ll learn ways we can integrate practices for examining how our code might harm individuals. We’ll look at how to flip the paradigm, netting consequences that can be better for everyone.

Tags

privacy, Internet of Things, data mining, machine learning, data driven development, social networking, product development, hipaa, data science, quantified self, psychology, activity trackers

Speaking experience

Carina has spoken at more than 20 tech conferences around the world, including major conferences dedicated to Ruby, Python, JavaScript, and PHP. Topics have included git, cloud computing, data mining, data modeling, tech's socioeconomic issues, community building & community management, recruitment & hiring, technical management & mentorship, and others. Her most popular talk is "Schemas for the Real World", which deals with the complex issues of social data modeling of personal attributes and individuals' relationships.

Speaker

  • Carina c zona

    Carina C. Zona

    CallbackWomen

    Biography

    Carina C. Zona is a developer, community builder, advocate, certified sex educator, and whimsical gluten-free baker.

    Carina is the founder of @CallbackWomen, an initiative devoted to getting more women onto the podium as programmer conferences’ speakers. She has also been an organizer & instructor for many tech women’s organizations, including formerly serving on Railsbridge’s core team.

    She spends a lot of time thinking about the unexpected cultural effects of our decisions as programmers.

    Sessions

      • Title: Consequences of an Insightful Algorithm
      • Track: Culture
      • Room: Sanctuary
      • Time: 9:009:45am
      • Excerpt:

        We have ethical responsibilities when coding. We’re able to extract remarkably precise intuitions about an individual. But do we have a right to know what they didn’t consent to share, even when they willingly shared the data that leads us there? How do we mitigate against unintended outcomes? In this talk, we’ll learn how to build in systematic empathy, integrate practices for examining how our code might harm individuals, and net consequences that can be better for everyone.

      • Speakers: Carina C. Zona