Mapping ADM Across Sectors
Focus Areas: News and Media, Transport and Mobility, Health, and Social Services
Research Programs: Data, Machines, Institutions, and People
ADM systems have the potential to greatly improve the overall quality of life in society, but they may also exacerbate social, political, and economic inequality. The role they play in reinforcing, reproducing, and reconfiguring power relations is, as recent events demonstrate, a key concern with respect to the deployment of automated decision making systems. When such systems are used to decide how benefits, resources, services, or information are allocated in society, they bear directly on the character and quality of life in that society. We are interested in both the potential benefits of the deployment of the technology and the potential harms. We do not treat such systems in the abstract, but are centrally concerned with the social, political, and economic relations in which they are embedded and which shape their deployment. A key question for the ADM+S Centre, in other words, is not just how best to design and deploy the technology, but what economic and political arrangements are most compatible with their fair, ethical, responsible, and democratic use.
The Social Issues in Automated Decision-Making report brings together material collected from discussions with leaders in the Centre’s focus areas and feedback from an international collection of experts in their respective domains. For each focus area we followed a similar methodology for canvassing key social issues. We started by discussing key social issues with Focus Area leaders and their teams. We then canvassed the academic literature, reports by industry groups and relevant independent organisations, and media coverage. For each area, we sought to identify key applications of ADM and the possible social benefits and harms with which they are associated. We also sought to identify continuities in these social issues both within and across the Centre’s main focus areas.
This is neither a final nor a definitive report. It marks the first step in the Centre’s ongoing social issues mapping project. The document will develop over time to reflect the insights that emerge from ongoing collaborations.