The Ethics of Algorithms: Mapping the Debate

Big Data & Society, Vol. 3(2), DOI: 10.1177/2053951716679679, 2016

68 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2017  

Brent Mittelstadt

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Patrick Allo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Mariarosaria Taddeo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Sandra Wachter

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Luciano Floridi

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: November 1, 2016

Abstract

In information societies, operations, decisions and choices previously left to humans are increasingly delegated to algorithms, which may advise, if not decide, about how data should be interpreted and what actions should be taken as a result. More and more often, algorithms mediate social processes, business transactions, governmental decisions, and how we perceive, understand, and interact among ourselves and with the environment. Gaps between the design and operation of algorithms and our understanding of their ethical implications can have severe consequences affecting individuals as well as groups and whole societies. This paper makes three contributions to clarify the ethical importance of algorithmic mediation. It provides a prescriptive map to organise the debate. It reviews the current discussion of ethical aspects of algorithms. And it assesses the available literature in order to identify areas requiring further work to develop the ethics of algorithms.

Keywords: Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Big Data, Data Analytics, Data Mining, Ethics, Machine Learning

Suggested Citation

Mittelstadt, Brent and Allo, Patrick and Taddeo, Mariarosaria and Wachter, Sandra and Floridi, Luciano, The Ethics of Algorithms: Mapping the Debate (November 1, 2016). Big Data & Society, Vol. 3(2), DOI: 10.1177/2053951716679679, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2909885

Brent Mittelstadt (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Patrick Allo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Mariarosaria Taddeo

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Sandra Wachter

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

41 St. Giles
Oxford, OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
@SandraWachter5 (Phone)
@SandraWachter5 (Fax)

Luciano Floridi

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

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