Mapping the Public Debate on Ethical Concerns: Algorithms in the Fourth Estate

Submission to CAiSE 2019 all done. Lets wait and see the outcome in February 2019.


Algorithms are in the news on an almost daily basis. Their context is invariably artificial intelligence and machine learning decision making. In media articles, algorithms are described as powerful, autonomous actors that have a capability of producing actions that have consequences. Despite a tendency to deification, the prevailing critique of algorithms focusses on ethical concerns raised by decisions resulting from algorithmic processing. However, this paper proposes that the ethical concerns discussed are limited in scope nor is it clear what concerns dominate the debate. The research presented in this paper contributes the first systematic mapping study of articles appearing in leading UK national papers from the perspective of the ethical concerns. The UK context is important because of the public policy initiatives around artificial intelligence. In academic literature, the key ethical concerns have been well documented and numerous models have been developed. To review the media content from the perspective of ethical concerns, this paper uses the synthesised conceptual map of ethical concerns developed by Mittelstad et. al. Given the dominance of that framework, this paper’s contribution is also an important instantiation and experiment of using that conceptual map.