May Seminar

“Contesting Algorithms: Restoring the public interest in content filtering by artificial intelligence”

In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has been deployed by online platforms to filter allegedly illegal expressions. AI filters carry censorial power which could bypass traditional checks and balances secured by law. This dramatic shift in norm setting and law enforcement is potentially game-changing for democracy. The opaque and dynamic nature of AI-based filters creates barriers to oversight. The system conceals critical value choices and tradeoffs. Currently, we lack adequate tools to hold these systems accountable. In this presentation I propose to address this gap by an adversarial procedure – Contesting Algorithms. The rationale behind contesting algorithms is to deliberately introduce friction into dominant removal systems governed by AI. Algorithmic content moderation often seeks to optimize a single goal, such as removing copyright-infringing materials or blocking hate speech, while other values in the public interest, such as fair use or free speech, are often neglected. Contesting algorithms introduce an adversarial design which reflects conflicting values, and thereby may offer a check on dominant removal systems. The presentation will introduce the strategy of Contesting Algorithms, discuss its promises and limitations, and demonstrate how regulatory measures could promote the development and implementation of this strategy in online content moderation. Elkin-Koren N. Contesting algorithms: Restoring the public interest in content filtering by artificial intelligence. Big Data & Society. July 2020. doi:10.1177/2053951720932296

Location: Online
Date and Time: 13/05/2021, 17:00 EET
Speaker: Prof. Niva Elkin-Koren

Niva Elkin-Koren is a Professor of Law at Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She was the founding director of the Center for Cyber, Law and Policy (CCLP) and of the Haifa Center for Law & Technology (HCLT). During 2009-2012 she served as Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Haifa. Prof. Elkin-Koren has been a Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard University, Columbia Law School, UCLA, NYU, George Washington University and Villanova University School of Law. She is the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council, of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society in Berlin, a member of the Executive Committee of Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP), and a board member of the MIPLC Scientific Advisory Board at the Munich IP Law Center, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition. Prof. Elkin-Koren received her LL.B from Tel-Aviv University Faculty of Law in 1989, her LL.M from Harvard Law School in 1991, and her S.J.D from Stanford Law School in 1995. Her research is located at the intersection of law, computer science and data science. She has written extensively on content moderation by social media platforms, enforcement by platforms, user rights in social media and the regulation of digital platforms.