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The Ethics + Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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AI Initiative to Partner with the ACLU of Massachusetts on Accountable AI

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Over the past year, the AI Initiative has worked closely with Kade Crockford and the Technology for Liberty program at the ACLU of Massachusetts on issues at the intersection of civil rights, civil liberties, and automation. Most recently, we collaborated with the ACLU to suggest guiding principles and urge caution on a recent proposal in the Massachusetts legislature which would mandate statewide use of risk assessment instruments in the pre-trial context.

Today, we’re announcing a $500,000 grant which will work to accelerate this partnership over the next two years. This will support work by the ACLU of Massachusetts to educate community leaders, policymakers, elected officials, and the general public in order to pass local laws requiring transparency, accountability, and ongoing oversight of the automated systems being deployed throughout the government. This includes work on surveillance technologies, predictive policing, and risk assessment instruments, among others.

Crucially, this project will be aimed at developing legal mechanisms for communities to say no to the adoption of these technologies, and ensure they have a voice in the details of their deployment, rather than simply mandating after-the-fact transparency about their use.

Progress on issues of algorithmic justice will require the translation of research and academic insight into on-the-ground community organizing and the advancement of concrete policy solutions. In this respect, we’re thrilled to have the chance to team up with the ACLU of Massachusetts  to work directly with affected communities to give them a say in the governance of these technologies.

Tim Hwang