Building a Better HAL 9000: Algorithms, the Market, and the Need to Prevent the Engraining of Bias

Raymond, Anjanette H,Young, Emma Arrington Stone,Shackelford, Scott J | April 1, 2018

As sci-fi fans will recall, the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey is focused on the interaction between humans and artificial intelligence. In the movie, HAL (Heuristically programmed Algorithmic Computer) 9000 computer is an artificial intelligence and the onboard computer on the spaceship Discovery 1. HAL 9000, more commonly called “Hal,” is capable of many functions, such as speech, facial recognition, lip reading, interpreting emotions, and expressing emotions. HAL is built into the Discovery 1 spacecraft, and is in charge of maintaining all mechanical and life support systems on board. As the movie progresses, the astronauts become concerned about HAL’s behavior and agree to disconnect him, in essence killing HAL. HAL becomes aware of the plan and seeks to stop his death as the movie plot climaxes in a conflict between intelligent machine and his human controllers. Interestingly, 2001: A Space Odyssey author Arthur C. Clark could not have been more accurate about one of the emerging conflicts to face humanity: what role does society want machines to play in coordinating and governing human activity? The debate resonates from the shared economy to the ethics of artificial intelligence. This article seeks to advance the debate about the need for data regulation that focuses on the impact of the use of the data. First, it provides a brief explanation of data analytics, algorithms, and machine learning. Second, the article explores some of the common mistakes associated with data modeling within algorithmic processes. Third, the paper explores the impact of the use of data, specifically data that is used to create a digital personhood, to inform algorithms that perform basic services. Fourth and finally, the article seeks to define an ethical decision-making model and regulatory structure for data focusing on the impact of the use of the data upon the individual and society.