Discriminatory and Liberatory Algorithms: Restructuring Algorithmic “Fairness”


Manuel Sabin
Berkeley, Dpt. Computer Science


Quanquan Liu, Sitan Chen, Nikhil Vyas
Abstract: The nascent field of Algorithmic Fairness recognizes that algorithms have the potential to perpetuate and codify systemic discrimination and attempts the noble goal of defining notions of “Fairness” that will mitigate this. The past year, however, has seen many critiques of the field’s direction and methodologies, illustrating how the field itself is in danger or perpetuating and codifying systems of discrimination.

This talk will review Fairness and Abstraction in Sociotechnical Systems, a work that outlines five sociotechnical “traps” that Algorithmic Fairness seems to routinely fall into. I will then present ongoing work where we introduce Discriminatory & Liberatory Algorithms (DLA): a framework to restructure the terminology, methodology, and role of Algorithmic “Fairness” through a sociotechnical lens. The merit of this will be argued via its lack of susceptibility to these five “traps.”