“Algorithmic bias” is one of the most prominent topics in computing. In this talk, I will track the trajectory of work on algorithmic bias, reflecting on the history of the research domain, discussing important near-term goals, and highlighting critical future directions. In doing so, I will cover our research from the beginning of the last decade that helped to establish the existence of what is now called “algorithmic bias”. Next, I will discuss more recent work that has examined algorithmic bias along an important but under-explored dimension: the urban-rural spectrum. Finally, I will highlight what I believe to be the single most important direction of future research in this space: mitigating bias in who benefits economically from computing. Here, I will discuss our recent work developing sociotechnical means through which we can create a computing paradigm that more broadly distributes its economic winnings. I will also reflect on how interdisciplinary communities like DUB will likely be integral in creating more holistically equitable computing systems.
Dr. Brent Hecht is an associate professor at Northwestern University and Director of Applied Science in Microsoft’s Experiences and Devices division. At Northwestern, Dr. Hecht leads the People, Space and Algorithms (PSA) Research Group, whose mission is to “identify and address societal problems that are created or exacerbated by advances in computer science.” Dr. Hecht is particularly interested in understanding and mitigating the cultural, geographic, and economic biases that are reflected and reinforced by artificial intelligence systems and other computing technologies.
Dr. Hecht received a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree in geography from UC Santa Barbara, and a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and geography from Macalester College. He is the recipient of a CAREER award from the U.S. National Science Foundation and has received awards for his research at top-tier publication venues in human-computer interaction, data science, and geography (e.g. ACM SIGCHI, ACM CSCW, ACM Mobile HCI, AAAI ICWSM, COSIT). At Northwestern, Dr. Hecht holds appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the School of Communication. Dr. Hecht also serves on the Executive Committee of ACM FAT* (www.fatconference.org), the premier publication venue for research on understanding and mitigating societal biases in artificial intelligence systems. Dr. Hecht has collaborated with Google Research, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research, and his work has been featured by The New York Times, the Washington Post, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and various other TV, radio, and Internet outlets.