Eticas Foundation started life in 2017 and since then has formed part of projects, initiatives and encounters in both Barcelona and worldwide. Different organisations that defend digital rights (EFF, Tactical Tech, XNet to name just a few) and social organisations (Fundación Cotec, AEPD, Fundación Karisma, Taula pel Tercer Sector, IRIDIA, SOS Racisme, Espai Societat Oberta - Open Society Foundations, etc.), have participated, as have public administrations and citizens.
While innovation in medicine or food follow protocols to demonstrate their usefulness or impact, innovation in technology and data are coming into our homes, careers, toys and pockets with very little oversight. Eticas Foundation is committed to a healthy public debate, transparent data processing and accountability mechanisms that ensure transparency and responsibility in the place of “black boxes” of secret algorithms. They believe that the best technology is yet to come and their aim is to make this a reality.
Projects by the Observatory of Algorithms with a Social Impact
OASI seeks to raise awareness about the impact of algorithms in society, offering a database of more than 100 cases from around the world where the use of algorithms is having undesired social impacts. These algorithms (in particular, automated learning algorithms) are playing a more significant role in our daily lives: allocation of social benefits, schools, the granting of mortgages, online advertising profiles, etc. All too often they have been seen as neutral devices incapable of discrimination. However, as the human product they are, they are highly sensitive to bias and discriminate against a variety of groups, particularly against those traditionally considered most vulnerable. OASI identifies and exposes potential bias, dividing it into seven types of impact.
Algorithm audit guide
This guide provides methodological guidelines for performing product and service audits in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) that include the use of algorithms and that, at some stage of the process, gather or process personal data. AI services that use algorithms are spreading quickly across both public and private sectors. However, the algorithms are often defined as “black boxes” of computer code and data, the results of which are progressively more difficult to predict and control. This has led to significant concern about their ethical, social, legal and even corporate impact. These concerns include respect for the fundamental rights to privacy and personal data protection.