MSCS and Society Lecture: Brent Hecht '05 Speaks on "The Origins, Present, and Future of Algorithmic Bias"

4:40 PM  - 5:40 PM
Thursday Oct 18, 2018
JBD, Ruth Stricker Dayton Campus Center

From discussions in Congress to articles in Science, the issue known as “algorithmic bias” – intelligent technologies that reflect and reinforce societal biases – has become one of the most prominent issues in computer science.

In this talk, I will first cover our research from late last decade that helped to establish the existence of 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 the bias in who benefits economically from intelligent technologies. In doing so, I will discuss our recent work on technological means through which the public can force a more equitable distribution of the profits generated by intelligent technologies. Throughout the talk, I will reflect on how the liberal arts education I gained in the Macalester MSCS and Geography departments was essential to each of these research trajectories.
Dr. Brent Hecht is an assistant professor at Northwestern University. His research interests lie at the intersection of human–computer interaction, social computing, and spatial computing. At Northwestern, Dr. Hecht directs the People, Space, and Algorithms research group, whose mission is to “identify and address societal problems that are created or exacerbated by advances in computer science.” Dr. Hecht takes mixed-methods approaches, with an emphasis on large- scale quantitative analyses and system building.
Dr. Hecht received a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree in geography from UC Santa Barbara, and dual Bachelor’s degrees 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). Dr. Hecht has collaborated with Google Research, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research, and his work has been featured by The New York Times, NPR, the Washington Post, CNN, El País, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and various other TV, radio, and Internet outlets.

This event is for: Students, Staff and Faculty

Sponsored By: Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

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