Ethics of Language Technology

LING 3803: Ethics of Language Technology

Credit Hours

Rapid increases in the capabilities of Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems and other language technologies are leading us toward a world in which computers make many of the decisions which affect our everyday lives. NLP systems are already involved in hiring workers, filtering our words online and deciding how political campaigns choose to approach us. These systems have immense power--- but all too often, they make unfair decisions that reflect or even amplify the biases of the society that created them. In this course, we'll learn about how language processing systems are created, and at what steps in the process bias and unfairness might creep in. We'll learn about efforts to define, detect and quantify bias, and how different ethical principles can lead to different results. Finally, we will discuss different ways to remedy the ethical problems of language technology, to what extent they can be 'fixed', and whether there are problems for which it is too dangerous to use NLP at all. 3 credit hours. Prerequisites: None

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