Summer 2020

Algorithm Design and Law

Jul. 20Jul. 24, 2020

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Inbal Talgam-Cohen (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology; chair), Niva Elkin-Koren (University of Haifa), Michal Feldman (Tel Aviv University), Shafi Goldwasser (Simons Institute, UC Berkeley)

Two decades ago, Lawrence Lessig famously stated that “code is law,” speaking to the importance of computer code as a central regulating force in the Internet age. Today, as the usage of algorithms in society is exploding, it is becoming increasingly clear that “algorithms are law.” Algorithms have been infiltrating – and increasingly governing – every aspect of our lives as individuals and as a society. This necessitates ainterdisciplinary effort between computer science and law, aimed at bridging the gap between the performance of algorithmic systems and legal standards.   Currently, notions like privacy or fairness are formulated as legal doctrines in law, and as mathematical definitions in computer science. Are these formulations compatible? How severely does applying a legal standard limit an algorithm's performance? Can the algorithm be sufficiently transparent to be evaluated by legal experts? These questions are highly relevant to a diverse range of topics including privacy in data analysis, fairness in algorithmic decision-making, duty of care in autonomous driving, free speech in algorithmic content moderation, and free competition in algorithmic pricing.

This workshop will bring together researchers from two main areas: (1) algorithm design (broadly construed); and (2) law (including law & economics and law & technology). Our short-term goal is to identify concrete research problems of joint interest, which will benefit from a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach over the next few years, and to form the necessary connections to tackle them as a community. Our long-term goal is to enable decades of legal thought to inform algorithm design, and the mathematical rigor and power of computer science theory to inform lawmaking.

Further details about this workshop will be posted in due course. Enquiries may be sent to the organizers algolaw2020 [at] lists [dot] simons [dot] berkeley [dot] edu (at this address).