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ACM FAccT increases participant diversity to investigate AI social justice impacts

Multi-disciplinary look at algorithmic fairness, accountability and transparency
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The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) will hold a virtual conference from March 3rd to 10th on the topics of fairness, accountability, and transparency (FAccT) to explore issues within socio-technical systems.

Richard Zemel, general co-chair and co-founder of the Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence says of the conference; “FAccT is a leading venue for advancing the science of fairness and accountability of AI systems. Last year, more than 600 academic researchers, policymakers and practitioners attended the conference. This year, we expect that number to double.”

Global events over the last year, particularly those involving racial injustice, discrimination and demands for social justice, have highlighted the need for focus in this area to tackle issues within the field of computing and the advancement of social justice in relation to the design of computational systems.

The way datasets used in biometrics training are labelled was identified as a source of algorithmic unfairness in a recent research paper. A paper co-authored by Inioluwa Deborah Raji, who will appear as part of a panel at the event, suggested data collection practices have actually become less ethical as demand for training data to fuel biometrics and other applications has increased.

“The most important themes we see emerging this year include scholarship on systemic racism and discrimination, use of AI in health and health inequities, and the growing demand for new forms of accountability around the world. While we will miss gathering in person, moving online provides a way to lower barriers to conference participation and prioritize racial equity, diversity, inclusion, and climate justice,” says William Isaac, ACM General Co-chair and senior research scientist with DeepMind.

Keynote addresses will include Yeshimabeit Milner, founder and executive director of Data for Black Lives speaking about Health, Technology, and Race. Plenary panel topics will include Machine Learning and Health Inequities during COVID, among others.

This year, FAccT aims to be more accessible and open to different communities, reflected in discounted conference registration prices and exploration of a range of perspectives.

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