UNIVERSITY OF ST. GALLEN, 9 November 2018
AI and self-learning algorithms have become important tools in our everyday lives. We use AI and related technologies to make determinations and predictions in order to optimize our decisions. Decisions may even be based solely on automated processing, for example when an online credit application is automatically refused or recruiting practices are fully automated. From a legal point of view, the effects of such automated processing may be discriminating and in violation of privacy rights, especially if the automated decision concerns highly sensitive domains such as criminal justice, law enforcement, housing, hiring, and education.
We as a society have to ask ourselves whether we want to live in a decision-making environment where individual autonomy is lost in an opaque set of algorithms. An algorithmic governance system may help to ensure the legitimacy and effectiveness of algorithms. In designing such a system, the legislator has to find a balance between effective privacy protection, the protection of company and business secrets and digital added-value potential. In our conference, we wish to deepen the public debate on this topic and answer questions such as: To which extent do we want algorithms to guide and shape our behavior? How can we design effective governance systems for algorithms? How can transparency and explainability of algorithms be secured?
We will address the potential risks of the algorithm revolution and discuss several interdisciplinary governance approaches. To this end, we have invited international experts to present different approaches to this fundamental and pressing issue of our time and are looking forward to an insightful and productive interdisciplinary debate.