Ethical Implications and Accountability of Algorithms

Journal of Business Ethics 160 (4):835-850 (2018)

Abstract
Algorithms silently structure our lives. Algorithms can determine whether someone is hired, promoted, offered a loan, or provided housing as well as determine which political ads and news articles consumers see. Yet, the responsibility for algorithms in these important decisions is not clear. This article identifies whether developers have a responsibility for their algorithms later in use, what those firms are responsible for, and the normative grounding for that responsibility. I conceptualize algorithms as value-laden, rather than neutral, in that algorithms create moral consequences, reinforce or undercut ethical principles, and enable or diminish stakeholder rights and dignity. In addition, algorithms are an important actor in ethical decisions and influence the delegation of roles and responsibilities within these decisions. As such, firms should be responsible not only for the value-laden-ness of an algorithm but also for designing who-does-what within the algorithmic decision. As such, firms developing algorithms are accountable for designing how large a role individual will be permitted to take in the subsequent algorithmic decision. Counter to current arguments, I find that if an algorithm is designed to preclude individuals from taking responsibility within a decision, then the designer of the algorithm should be held accountable for the ethical implications of the algorithm in use.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-018-3921-3
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References found in this work BETA

The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.Richard Rudner - 1953 - Philosophy of Science 20 (1):1-6.
Do Artifacts Have Politics?Langdon Winner - 1980 - Daedalus:121--136.
Bias in Algorithmic Filtering and Personalization.Engin Bozdag - 2013 - Ethics and Information Technology 15 (3):209-227.

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Citations of this work BETA

Roboethics in Education and Society.Michael A. Peters - 2019 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 52 (1):11-16.

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