Recent innovations in information technology are challenging our traditional notions of what it means to live a good and productive life, and to assure that the digital world reflects our ethical values. From the ethical issues associated with artificial intelligence to the growing breakdown of trust, accountability, civility, and consensus in online spaces, Luddy researchers are engaging with some of the most meaningful social, political, and moral questions facing our increasingly digital society.See faculty in Ethics & Values in Digital Society
Assure that the digital world reflects our ethical values
Equity and Algorithmic Bias
From racial bias in predictive policing algorithms to the gender- and class-bias constructed into automated hiring systems, the bias and limitations of computerized systems are often difficult to detect and eliminate. How can we design algorithms that are fair, equitable, and which reflect our values and help accomplish positive social change?
Trust and Transparency
How can we detect insecure systems, false or misleading sources of information, and agents who misrepresent their identity? How do we balance the positive features of privacy and anonymity against malicious behaviors like trolling, spamming, or bullying? What are our responsibilities in terms of maintaining truth and integrity in the Internet era?
Sustainability and the Environment
As more of our activities are mediated by digital technologies, we must consider the implications of these technologies on our environment. How can we design technologies that help us sustain our larger environment? From human health to the maintenance of natural ecosystems, how can computational resources improve planetary stainability?
Privacy and Security
What does privacy mean in the era of social media? What responsibilities do the designers, developers, operators, and maintainers of digital systems have in terms of protecting the privacy and security of users? How can we adapt concepts like “informed consent” to provide users with control over the use of and access to their data?
As we spend more and more time in digitally-mediated spaces, what does it mean in terms of our sense of community, and commitment to civic responsibility? What does it mean to be a citizen in an increasingly global, networked, and virtual society? How can we maintain democratic institutions in what seems to be an increasingly fragmented and polarized society?
The idea of autonomous systems being given decision-making power over humans has long been the subject of intense and challenging ethical debate. While science fiction scenarios about robot revolutions might be unlikely, AI has become an essential and pervasive tool in diverse domains in the past decade. We are committed to exploring the ethical and social issues raised by AI.