Accountable Algorithms: How to Make New Tech Work for Society

Digital technology plays a vital role in modern life. The firms of Silicon Valley have built vast revenue streams through offering services which are intangible, but which can, thanks to the internet, scale rapidly. Digital technology moves fast, and it sometimes feels like society cannot keep up. We worry that our elections have been influenced by bad actors, that the information we receive is filtered through systems that do more harm than good. Machine learning allows complex algorithms to be developed and deployed faster than ever. This talk will cover what society can do to understand the algorithms that it relies on, and explain the choice between adaptation to or curtailment of new technology.

Hal Hodson is technology correspondent at The Economist. Previously, he worked at New Scientist for three years in Boston and one year in London. At New Scientist, Hal wrote about internet policy and economics, robotics, artificial intelligence, infrastructure and biotechnology. He has reported from abroad, including Bolivia, Mexico, South Korea and Finland. Hal graduated in 2010 from Trinity College Dublin with a degree in astrophysics.