Robotics and AI, Commons Select Committee inquiry

AI_Robotics_inquiryThe Science and Technology Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into robotics and artificial intelligence (deadline for written submission was April 29th) as part of the continuing national strategy for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) innovation. In 2012 the UK Government identified RAS as one of the ‘Eight Great Technologies’, leading to the establishment of a ‘RAS Special Interest Group’ and the RAS national strategy in 2014. In 2015 the Special Interest Group published The UK Landscape for Robotics and Autonomous Systems and The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council also launched an UK-RAS network.

What follows is the response that was submitted by Ansgar Koene and Yohko Hatada.

Continue reading Robotics and AI, Commons Select Committee inquiry

‘Online platforms and the Digital Single Market’ report by the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee

HoL_OnlinePlatformsThis week saw the publication of the report on ‘Online platforms and the Digital Single Market’ by the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee. This reports presents the findings of the inquiry that was held from October 2015 till spring 2016, receiving 85 written responses and 20 oral evidence sessions. Included in the written responses were two from Horizon Digital Economy Research, one by Prof. Rodden and one by myself which we partially posted on this blog about in October 2015. The main driver for this inquiry was the publication in May 2015 by the European Commission (EC) of its ‘Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe’ (DSM), which drew attention to the growing role of online platforms as key players in social and economic interactions on the internet, and was followed on 24 September by the launch of an EC consultation ‘A fit for purpose regulatory environment for platforms and intermediaries’. For the purposes of both the EC consultation and the Lords’ inquiry online platforms were considered to ‘represent a broad category of digital businesses that provide a meeting place for two or more different groups of users over the Internet, examples of which include search engines, online marketplaces, the collaborative or sharing economy, and social networks’. What follows is an incomplete summary of the findings in the report, with a focus on the issues related to fundamental rights of platform users (e.g. privacy), the role of algorithms and user consent, which are most closely related to our work at CaSMa.

Continue reading ‘Online platforms and the Digital Single Market’ report by the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee

Ethics of Using Hacked Data & Guidelines for Networked Systems Ethics

Ethics_of_hacked_data_use
Two items about research ethics today to balance out the many policy issues that we’ve been featuring on this blog recently.

The first items is an interesting case study by Nathaniel Poor and Roei Davidson about the ethics of using hacked data that feature on the Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society blog.

The second items, is a recently published set of guidelines for Networked Systems Ethics that was published online by Ben Zevenbergen with input from host of people who participated at various ethics workshops organized by Ben.

Continue reading Ethics of Using Hacked Data & Guidelines for Networked Systems Ethics

DG Connect survey on the ‘future of the internet’

EU_NetFuturesThe European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology, a.k.a DG Connect recently launched a survey (deadline April 10th 2016) on the ‘future of the internet’ as part of its Net Futures agenda, which was established to “pioneer and coordinate research, innovation, and policy initiatives on what lies beyond the current internet architecture, software and services.” Below is a copy of my submission to the survey.

Continue reading DG Connect survey on the ‘future of the internet’

The Privatization of Human Rights: Illusions of Consent, Automation and Neutrality

CIGI_coverWhile exploring the Internet And Human Rights Resources Center at the Internet Society, I encountered a highly informative report from the Global Commission on Internet Governance (CIGI), which was published in January 2016, on the extent to which the management of individuals’ fundamental rights, e.g. privacy and free speech, is in the hands corporations.

The report presents an excellent overview of the various ways in which the dominance of a small set of companies that control the web platforms where most people spend the majority of their time online has produced a situation where these companies have become major actors in determining the state of human rights online.

Continue reading The Privatization of Human Rights: Illusions of Consent, Automation and Neutrality