Holtz Center Steering Committee member and Information School Associate Professor Alan Rubel’s new book Algorithms and Autonomy: The Ethics of Automated Decision Systems (with Clinton Castro of Florida International University and Adam Pham of California Institute of Technology) has recently been published by Cambridge University Press.
Algorithms influence every facet of modern life: criminal justice, education, housing, entertainment, elections, social media, news feeds, work… the list goes on. Delegating important decisions to machines, however, gives rise to deep moral concerns about responsibility, transparency, freedom, fairness, and democracy. Algorithms and Autonomy connects these concerns to the core human value of autonomy in the contexts of algorithmic teacher evaluation, risk assessment in criminal sentencing, predictive policing, background checks, news feeds, ride-sharing platforms, social media, and election interference. Using these case studies, the authors provide a better understanding of machine fairness and algorithmic transparency. They explain why interventions in algorithmic systems are necessary to ensure that algorithms are not used to control citizens’ participation in politics and undercut democracy.
The book is available open access, thanks to the iSchool’s Sarah M. Pritchard Faculty Support Fund. Therefore, you can purchase it from the usual spots, but it’s also available open access on the Cambridge University Press website.
Rubel works in the area of information ethics and policy. His current research concerns the nature and value of privacy, ethical concerns surrounding algorithmic decision systems (e.g., in criminal justice, in employee evaluation, in recommender systems), and higher education surveillance and learning analytics.