Impact story

Data & Society: AI accountability

By Luminate
2 min read

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate decisions which significantly impact our lives is accelerating. These data-centric tools are now being employed by public and private entities for everything from the tailoring of news feeds, to the allocation of public resources, to even predicting the likelihood of defendants reoffending. 

There is a critical need to better understand the unintended consequences of using these tools, and to develop ways to ensure they are always ethical and accountable. 

While interest in this area is growing fast, it is still a nascent field lacking in both high-quality, accessible research and multidisciplinary experts.

Data & Society is a research institute at the forefront of addressing these gaps. Based in New York, it is focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development. 

As well as providing thought leadership and research that can provide evidence-based public debate, Data & Society is also breaking down the silos which currently exist between technologists, policymakers, activists, and academics; connecting and engaging stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.

The institute’s research cuts across automation, civil rights, ethics, and privacy.

$850,000

committed to Data & Society in 2016



To help with these efforts, we have supported Data & Society with $850,000.

The institute’s research cuts across automation, civil rights, ethics, and privacy. It ranges from short-term projects on emerging areas of interest to longer-term initiatives, such as research into the role of algorithms in shaping media consumption. One of its highest profile publications, An AI Pattern Language, explores the social impacts of AI systems and offers potential creative solutions to mitigate these challenges.

Data & Society is a diverse organisation. By bringing together experts from a range of backgrounds, it widens the scope of its research and strengthens the intellectual community of its field more broadly. This collaborative approach also allows Data & Society to connect across sectors and cultivate partnerships which are then better able to understand the interlinked issues at play, for example connecting criminal lawyers with software developers. 

Data & Society is working to ensure that AI is always developed for the public good by strengthening accountability, governance, and ethical safeguards. We are proud to support them as they innovate and collaborate at the intersection of technology and society. 

Headline photo credit: Alexa Hoyer

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