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Ethics and Governance of AI

The rapidly growing capabilities and increasing presence of AI-based systems in our lives is raising pressing questions about the impact, governance, ethics, and accountability of these technologies around the world. How can we narrow the knowledge gap between AI “experts” and the rest of us? How do we ensure that AI systems serve the public good rather than exacerbate existing inequalities and biases?

Together, the Berkman Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab have launched the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative aimed at bolstering  the use of AI for the public good through evidence-based research that provides guidance for decision-makers across the private and public sectors; fostering a network of interdisciplinary researchers focused on AI ethics and governance-related issues; and strengthening relationships between industry, academia, civil society, and government.

Our work is currently focused on three areas:

1. Autonomy and the State: Governments play an increasing role as both consumer and regulator of automated technologies. How AI is straining our notions of human autonomy, due process, and justice?

2. Autonomy and the Platform: How are automated technologies on social and media platforms impacting civic life and reshaping democratic norms?

3. The University — A Countervailing Force: What community-building and educational efforts can we design to preserve human autonomy in an increasingly automated world?

For more information about this initiative, see the Ethics and Governance of AI Fund website.

Projects 08

AI: Algorithms and Justice

The use of algorithms in the judiciary has already raised significant questions about bias and fairness, and looking ahead the moral questions become even more challenging. More

AI: Autonomous Vehicles

As vehicles become more automated vehicles, we consider potential impacts on labor, questions about governance, bias, and inequality, and work to identify forms of transparency. More

AI: Global Governance and Inclusion

In a world challenged by growing domestic and international inequalities, policymakers face hard problems and difficult choices when dealing with AI systems. More

AI: Media and Information Quality

As autonomous systems play an increasing role in selecting the content we see online, questions arise about AI's influence on human judgment, opinions, and perceptions. More

AI: Transparency and Explainability

There are many ways to hold AI systems accountable. We focus on issues related to obtaining human-intelligible and human-actionable information. More

Assembly

Assembly is a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab that explores different modes of education, collaboration, and development. More

metaLAB (at) Harvard

The Berkman Klein Center is hosting the metaLAB (at) Harvard – a newly founded "institutional home for Harvard’s digital art, design, and humanities communities." More

Youth and Media

Youth and Media (YaM) encompasses an array of research, advocacy, and development initiatives around youth (age 12-18) and digital technology. More


Publications 10

Jul 13, 2018

5 Technological Factors Regulators And Policymakers Need To Know

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

The basics of autonomous vehicle technology and current policy discussions. More

Jul 13, 2018

3 Practical Tools To Help Regulators Develop Better Laws And Policies

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

Three practical tools that policymakers and regulators can use to develop better AV policies and expand their toolkit of instruments to govern the technology. More

Jul 13, 2018

What Governments Across The Globe Are Doing To Seize The Benefits Of Autonomous Vehicles

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

Introducing some of the AV strategies and initiatives that governments around the world are employing to navigate the challenges of AVs. More

Jul 13, 2018

A Smart Move? 24 Essentials Of A Swot Analysis Policymakers Need To Consider

a Policy Primer on Autonomous Vehicles

Analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis) facing governments as they design comprehensive AV policy. More

May 8, 2018

AGTech Forum Briefing Book: State Attorneys General and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is already starting to change our lives. Over the coming decades, these new technologies will shape many of our daily interactions and drive dramatic… More

Feb 9, 2018

Follow-up Letter to the Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Regarding the Adoption of Actuarial Risk Assessment Tools in the Criminal Justice System

The following open letter — signed by Harvard and MIT-based faculty, staff, and researchers — is directed to the Massachusetts Legislature to inform its consideration of risk… More

Nov 27, 2017

Accountability of AI Under the Law: The Role of Explanation

The paper reviews current societal, moral, and legal norms around explanations, and then focuses on the different contexts under which an explanation is currently required under… More

Nov 20, 2017

A Layered Model for AI Governance

​AI-based systems are “black boxes,” resulting in massive information asymmetries between the developers of such systems and consumers and policymakers. More

Nov 9, 2017

An Open Letter to the Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Regarding the Adoption of Actuarial Risk Assessment Tools in the Criminal Justice System

This open letter — signed by Harvard and MIT-based faculty, staff, and researchers— is directed to the Massachusetts Legislature to inform its consideration of risk assessment… More

Aug 16, 2017

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. More


News 29

Jul 12, 2018

Understanding Media and Information Quality in an Age of Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Algorithms and Machine Learning

Technology can be a threat to the integrity and quality of media, but also a source of potential solutions. More

Jul 11, 2018

Algorithms and Justice

Examining the role of the state in the development and deployment of algorithmic technologies

A retrospective from this first year of work, describing research modes and outputs and identifying takeaways. More

Jul 11, 2018

Global Governance and Inclusion

Reframing the Global Debate Around AI

A look at lessons we’ve learned in our work as part of the Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative, More

Medium
Jul 3, 2018

Clearly Complex

A report from the Symposium on Trust and Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles (STEAV)

A report from the Symposium on Trust and Ethics of Autonomous Vehicles (STEAV). More

Medium
Jun 21, 2018

Data Commons Version 1.0

A Framework to Build Toward AI for Good

The increased use of AI for purposes ranging from health to food security to global infrastructure has resulted in a greater interest in how we should manage big data. More

May 9, 2018

Global AI Dialogue Series: Hong Kong SAR, China

Takeaways from the Asia Pacific-US AI Workshop: Measuring Impact, Building Inclusive AI, and Bolstering Trust in the Digital Ecosystem

The Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. are pioneers and early adopters of numerous innovations in the ongoing AI and automated systems technological revolution. More

May 8, 2018

Your Guide to BKC@RightsCon 2018

Connect with members of the Berkman Klein community and learn about their research. More

Washington Post
Mar 20, 2018

AI is more powerful than ever. How do we hold it accountable?

Trying to understand advanced AI is like trying to understand the inner workings of another person’s mind. More

Feb 28, 2018

Your Guide to BKC@SXSW 2018

Headed to SXSW this year? If so, be sure to check out some of these panels and discussions led by members of the Berkman Klein community. More

Feb 22, 2018

New Website Draws on International Perspectives to Highlight Issues related to Inclusion and Artificial Intelligence

This new suite of resources aims to establish key themes, questions, and opportunities for ensuring that voices and perspectives from diverse populations help shape the future of… More

Medium
Jan 26, 2018

Global AI Dialogue Series: Beijing

Observations from the China-US Workshop in Beijing, December 2, 2017

In December 2017, the Berkman Klein Center co-hosted an exploratory workshop in Beijing, China with Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management and the MIT Media… More

Dec 20, 2017

Berkman Klein at IGF 2017

This week marks the 12th annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a multistakeholder forum for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance. More

Dec 12, 2017

Announcing the 2018 Assembly Cohort

At the Berkman Klein Center and MIT Media Lab

We are thrilled to announce the 2018 cohort for the Assembly program at the Berkman Klein Center and MIT Media Lab! Read more to learn about the twenty-one individuals who will be… More

Podcast
Dec 1, 2017

When a Bot is the Judge

What happens when our criminal justice system uses algorithms to help judges determine bail, sentencing, and parole? More

Medium
Nov 30, 2017

Charting a Roadmap to Ensure AI Benefits All

An international symposium aimed at building capacity and exploring ideas for data democratization and inclusion in the age of AI. More

Nov 27, 2017

Designing Artificial Intelligence to Explain Itself

A new working paper maps out critical starting points for thinking about explanation in AI systems.

As we integrate artificial intelligence deeper into our daily technologies, it becomes important to ask “why” not just of people, but of systems. More

Nov 22, 2017

A Legal Anatomy of AI-generated Art: Part I

This Comment, published in the JOLT Digest, is the first in a two-part series on how lawyers should think about art generated by artificial intelligences, particularly with regard… More

Oct 19, 2017

How Facebook Tries to Regulate Postings Made by Two Billion People

Berkman Klein Center hosts a day of conversation about reducing harmful speech online and hears from the Facebook executive in charge of platform moderation policies

On September 19, the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society hosted a public lunch talk with… More

Sep 6, 2017

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Ruling on Bail Instructive Re: Algorithms & Criminal Justice

Prof. Chris Bavitz notes how a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling might impact the use of algorithms in criminal justice. More

Aug 25, 2017

Algorithms in the Criminal Justice System

Assessing the Use of Risk Assessments in Sentencing

This paper focuses on the incorporation of risk assessment software into the criminal sentencing process, and offers a set of key considerations and questions for further research… More

Aug 16, 2017

Partisan Right-Wing Websites Shaped Mainstream Press Coverage Before 2016 Election, Berkman Klein Study Finds

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University today released a comprehensive analysis of online media and social media coverage of the 2016 presidential… More

Medium
Aug 8, 2017

Harmful Speech Online: At the Intersection of Algorithms and Human Behavior

A workshop exploring how algorithms and human behavior can both enable and prevent harmful speech online

How do algorithms and human behavior intersect to impact the spread and study of harmful speech online? More

Jul 10, 2017

The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund Commits $7.6 Million to Support the Development of AI in the Public Interest

With the Berkman Klein Center and  MIT Media Lab as academic anchor institutions, the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund announced today funding for nine… More

Medium
Jun 27, 2017

AI and the Law: Setting the Stage

We as a society are only beginning to understand the ethical, legal, and regulatory challenges associated with AI, as well as develop appropriate governance models and responses. More

Jun 23, 2017

Global AI Dialogue Series: Seoul

Observations from Seoul Workshop, June 23, 2017

Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society in collaboration with K Governance and Media Lab and the Digital Asia Hub Artificial intelligence (AI) has… More

Jun 20, 2017

Join Our 2018 AI Assembly Cohort!

At the Berkman Klein Center and MIT Media Lab

The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the MIT Media Lab seek technologists with diverse skill sets to confront the concrete and constantly… More

Jun 1, 2017

AI Advance

A Community Convening at Harvard Law School to advance the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative

Reflecting and engaging on the societal challenges of AI and related technologies More

Jan 10, 2017

Berkman Klein Center and MIT Media Lab to Collaborate on the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence

Supported by the Knight Foundation, Omidyar Network, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Hewlett Foundation, and more

Several foundations and funders today announced the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund, which will support interdisciplinary research to ensure that AI develops… More

May 9, 2016

Computers Gone Wild: Impact and Implications of Developments in Artificial Intelligence on Society

A summary of the second “Computers Gone Wild: Impact and Implications of Developments in Artificial Intelligence on Society” workshop, which took place on February 19, 2016 at… More


Community 22

Wired

The Limits of Explainability

For decades, artificial intelligence with common sense has been one of the most difficult research challenges in the field

Mar 1, 2018
CNN

When a robot writes your news, what happens to democracy?

In the not-so-distant future, we will be presented with the version of the news we wish to read -- not the news that some reporter, columnist or editorial board decides we need…

Feb 27, 2018
Medium

Putting the J(ustice) in FAT

Ben Green calls for the disentanglement of the concepts of unfairness and injustice within the Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency movement.

Feb 26, 2018
Wired

Dont' Make AI Artificially Stupid in the Name of Transparency

In this Wired op-ed, David Weinberger discusses the implications around…

Jan 28, 2018
Economic & Political Weekly

Interactions with the Right to Privacy: Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence and big data present new challenges to protecting our right to privacy both online and offline.

Dec 23, 2017

Data is power: Towards additional guidance on profiling and automated decision-making in the GDPR

In this article, the authors propose suggestions to contribute to the development of guidelines which provide the strongest protections for data subjects.

Nov 15, 2017
Medium

Artificial Intelligence in Christian Thought and Practice

This series published by Christian computer scientists J. Nathan Matias, Lydia Manikonda, Scott Hale, and Kenneth Arnold introduces questions for Christians about AI and its role…

Oct 19, 2017
Medium

Algorithmic Consumer Protection

To manage the risks and benefits of AI, we need to look beyond the fairness and accuracy of AI decisions.

As society entrusts our safety and well-being to AI systems like this one, how can we ensure that the outcomes are beneficial?

Oct 9, 2017
Medium

In AI We Trust?

Do we already have the necessary trust in AI, and if not, how do we create it?

Oct 2, 2017
Medium

Artificial Intelligence "Gaydar"

Tressie McMillian Cottom examines a recent public debate about a new research article on AI

Sep 13, 2017
Medium

What Makes Information Valuable? Information Quality, Revisited

Four paradigm shifts emerge that have shaped my thinking about IQ as a theoretical concept and empirical phenomenon.

Sep 8, 2017
SSRN

Artificial Intelligence's Fair Use Crisis

In the United States, the copyright law mechanism most likely to facilitate machine learning’s uses of protected data is the fair use doctrine. However, current fair use…

Sep 7, 2017
Medium

Autonomous Systems — Is it time for empirical research?

Urs Gasser asks: Is the emerging field of AI ethics and governance ready for empirical research?

May 18, 2017
Medium

Some starting questions around pervasive autonomous systems

Jonathan Zittrain defines some of the cross-cutting questions arising from the mainstreaming of applied artificial intelligence

May 15, 2017
Medium

The Robot Dog Fetches for Whom?

"A boy sits with his dog at the edge of a beautiful and serene lake. Under the blue sky, the far shore is visible, with a short wide beach and green woods behind it. The boy…

May 7, 2017
Video

Openness and Oversight of Artificial Intelligence

Jonathan Zittrain, faculty director of the Berkman Klein Center and Professor at Harvard Law School

Jonathan Zittrain discusses the role regulators and oversight groups might play as AI becomes more and more woven into the fabric of society

Jan 11, 2017
Video

The Geographic Opportunities and Challenges of AI

Malavika Jayaram of the Digital Asia Hub

Malavika Jayaram discusses the language we use to talk about Artificial Intelligence, and the impact of AI in Asia.

Jan 11, 2017
Video

Designing AI to Complement Humanity

Barbara Grosz of the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University

Barbara Grosz discusses how we are developing AI to complement, rather than displace, humanity

Jan 11, 2017
Video

AI and Human Development

Kate Darling of the MIT Media Lab at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Kate Darling discusses how interacting with artificially intelligent human agents can have impacts on human behavioral development

Jan 11, 2017
Video

Social and Ethical Challenges of AI

danah boyd of Data & Society

danah boyd of Data & Society discusses how society could engage AI to reduce, rather than exacerbate, existing social challenges.

Jan 11, 2017
Video

AI Threats to Civil Liberties and Democracy

Chinmayi Arun of the Centre for Communication Governance at National Law University, Delhi

Chinmayi Arun discusses the challenges unchecked AI development could pose to civil liberties in Asia.

Jan 11, 2017
Video

AI and Ethical Design

Beth Altringer of Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences & the Graduate School of Design

Beth Altringer discusses how to design AI systems with ethics in mind.

Jan 11, 2017

Events 20

May 31, 2018 @ 9:00 AM

Symposium on Trust in Autonomous Vehicles

A symposium that brings together scientists, engineers, lawmakers, and car manufacturers to discuss ethical considerations and trust in autonomous vehicles. More

May 22, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Art that Imitates Art

Computational Creativity and Creative Contracting

Copyright in AI-generated works, the need for a shared understanding of what is and isn’t up for grabs in a license, and how forward-thinking contracts can prevent AI developers… More

Apr 23, 2018 @ 4:00 PM

Blockchain and the Law

The Rule of Code

Blockchain technology is ultimately a dual-edge technology that can be used to either support or supplant the law. This talk looks at the impact of blockchain technology of a… More

Apr 17, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Honoring All Expertise: Social Responsibility and Ethics in Tech

featuring Kathy Pham & Friends from the Berkman Klein Community

Learn more about social responsibility and ethics in tech from cross functional perspectives featuring social scientists, computer scientists, historians, lawyers, political… More

Mar 6, 2018 @ 5:30 PM

metaLAB + friends openLAB

Please join us for metaLAB’s 2018 openLAB, showcasing work by metaLAB and friends. More

Mar 6, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

The Accuracy, Fairness, and Limits of Predicting Recidivism

featuring Julia Dressel

COMPAS is a software used across the country to predict who will commit future crimes. It doesn’t perform any better than untrained people who responded to an online survey. More

Jan 30, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

The “Monkey Selfie” Case: Can Non-Humans Hold Copyrights?

featuring a panel of experts on copyright, cyber law, and intermediary liability issues

Can non-human animals own copyrights? Can artificial intelligence machines? Join the Berkman Klein Center, the Harvard Law School Animal Law & Policy Program, and the HLS Student… More

Jan 19, 2018 @ 6:00 PM

MACHINE EXPERIENCE II

Art Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence

A showcase of works by metaLAB artists exploring the emotional effects of algorithms, the uncanny experiences of sensor-enabled computers, and what intelligent machines might… More

Dec 12, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

A Pessimist’s Guide to the Future of Technology

featuring Dr. Ian Bogost, Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Two decades of technological optimism in computing have proven foolhardy. Let’s talk about new ways to anticipate what might go right and wrong, using a technology that has not… More

Oct 24, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

How the Networked Age is Changing Humanitarian Disasters

How is technology changing humanitarian crises? Is information humanitarian aid? Do we need a new Geneva Convention for cyberwarfare? More

Oct 18, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

Deep Mediatization: Social Order in the Age of Datafication

Social order - what counts as order in the social world - is changing in the digital era, the era of deep mediatization. How can social theory help us understand this shift, and… More

Oct 10, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

HUBweek 2017: Programming the Future of AI

Ethics, Governance, and Justice

How do we prepare court systems, judges, lawyers, and defendants to interact with autonomous systems? What are the potential societal costs to human autonomy, dignity, and due… More

Sep 29, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

How to Watch Them Watching You

Researching Social Media, Online Platforms, and Algorithmic Systems From the Outside

Join us at the University of Michigan for a discussion with Eric Gilbert, Cedric Langbort, Jeff Larson, Casey Pierce, and Christo Wilson on how researchers can navigate and… More

Sep 28, 2017 @ 4:00 PM

The Computer Says No

The Bad News About Online Discrimination in Algorithmic Systems

Join us at the University of Michigan for a discussion with Solon Barocas, J. Nathan Matias, H. V. Jagadish, and Christian Sandvig on the potential for discrimination and digital… More

Sep 19, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

The Line Between Hate and Debate

featuring Monika Bickert, Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management in conversation with Professor Jonathan Zittrain

As society figures out what is acceptable and what is harmful, can technology play a role in improving online debate? More

Sep 12, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Technology for the Social Good

featuring Jonathan Zittrain

If you’re interested in connecting with the Berkman Klein Center's research, community, and events, or are just generally interested in digital technologies and their impact on… More

Aug 7, 2017 @ 10:00 AM

MACHINE EXPERIENCE

metaLAB AI Art Exhibition, Lightbox Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

metaLAB exhibits five new artistic projects playfully and critically engaging different aspects of Artificial Intelligence at Harvard Art Museum's Lightbox Gallery from August 8… More

Jul 11, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Weapons of Math Destruction

How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Please join us for a timely discussion of the role of data science in public life. All are welcome at this free event open to the public! More

Apr 11, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

AI & Society

featuring Joi Ito and Iyad Rahwan of the MIT Media Lab

ISIS. Trump. Uber. The 1%. What if all these phenomena reflect the same forces? What if you could understand those forces? More

Apr 4, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Algorithmic Consumers

with Professors Michal Gal, University of Haifa, and Niva Elkin-Koren, Visting Professor of Law at HLS

Hate shopping? The next generation of e-commerce will be conducted by digital agents, based on algorithms that will not only make purchase recommendations, but will also predict… More


People 67

Directors

Staff

Fellows

Faculty Associates

Virgilio Almeida

Faculty Associate

Susan Benesch

Faculty Associate

Fernando Bermejo

Faculty Associate

Sandra Braman

Faculty Associate

Lionel Brossi

Faculty Associate

Sasha Costanza-Chock

Faculty Associate

Tressie McMillan Cottom

Faculty Associate

David Cox

Faculty Associate

Juan Carlos De Martin

Faculty Associate

Eldar Haber

Faculty Associate

Joi Ito

Faculty Associate

Nagla Rizk

Faculty Associate

Cynthia Rudin

Faculty Associate

Arun "Vish" Vishwanath

Faculty Associate

Affiliates

Elettra Bietti

Affiliate

Amber Case

Affiliate

Danit Gal

Affiliate

Tim Hwang

Affiliate

Yarden Katz

Affiliate

John Nay

Affiliate

Ben Sobel

Affiliate

Jonathan Sun

Affiliate

Gili Vidan

Affiliate

Fellows Advisory Board

Judith Donath

Fellows Advisory Board

David Weinberger

Fellows Advisory Board