Title: From Algorithmic Fairness to Democratizing AI: A Structural (In)justice Analysis

In response to the concerns of bias surrounding artificial intelligence (AI), a burgeoning research paradigm under the name of “algorithmic fairness” has been developed. Although much development has been made on the technical side, several underlying questions are left underexplored. In this talk, I argue that a moral framework called structural injustice offers a helpful interpretation of algorithmic fairness. Using AI in healthcare as a case study, the analysis through the lens of structural injustice situates AI systems against current social structures and indicates various places where the interactions between AI development and other social factors might function to exacerbate existing health disparities. Understood this way, the goal of algorithmic fairness should go beyond de-biasing algorithms and aim to pursue a more just social structure with the development and usage of AI systems when appropriate. I then discuss the implications for responsibilities and measures in achieving the goal of algorithmic fairness, in a way connecting with the recent urge to “democratize AI.”

Speaker bio
Ting-An Lin is currently an Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University, with a joint affiliation at the McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society (EiS) and the Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI). She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, where she also received a Graduate Certificate in women’s and gender studies. In the fall of 2024, she will be joining the Department of Philosophy at the University of Connecticut as an Assistant Professor.

Ting-An specializes in ethics (including AI and tech ethics), social and political philosophy, and feminist philosophy. Her recent research concerned the unfair constraints that social structures impose on different groups of people. At Stanford, she examines the impact of AI through a structural lens while exploring the potential of using AI or other digital tools to facilitate democratic participation and promote collective action toward social change.