[ISEA2020] Paper: Tomas Laurenzo & Katia Vega — Exploring AI Ethics Through Intelligent Everyday Objects

Abstract (short paper)

Keywords: Machine learning, artificial intelligence, ethics, algorithm bias, ethnicity

This paper presents an ongoing research project studying AI ethics and algorithmic bias, through the creation of AI augmented devices operating in everyday life. The project explores the use of interactive objects as a platform for exposing the political, social and ethical implications of Artificial Intelligence. Within this project, we created BOX, a smart gumball machine that locks or unlocks its delivery candy system depending on the interactor’s ethnicity, highlighting potential ethical tensions that arise with the introduction of AI-powered objects. Our project aims to raise awareness on discrimination, ethics, and accountability in AI among practitioners and the general public.

  • Katia Vega is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Design in the University of California, Davis, USA. She was a Postdoc Associate at MIT Media Lab (USA). She got her PhD and Master Degree in Computer Science at PUC-Rio (Brazil). Her research interests include wearable technologies, interactive tattoos, beauty technology and skin interfaces. Her work has been featured by New Scientist, Wired, Discovery, CNN, among others. In 2016, MIT Technology Review awarded her as one of the 5 Innovators under 35 in Peru. Recently, CNET recognized her as one of the Top 20 most influential Latinos in Tech in 2017. SXSW 2018 awarded The Dermal Abyss project in the Science Fiction no Longer Category. In 2019, she was honored as a leading woman in STEM by Johnson & Johnson.
  • Tomas Laurenzo is an Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media of the City University of Hong Kong. He worked as associate professor at University of the Republic (Uruguay), where he founded and directed both the Medialab of the Engi-neering School and the university’s Core Group on Human-Computer Interaction. He also worked as Associate Researcher at the Centre for Basic Research on Psychology, Visiting Professor at the School of Architecture and Design, and was a fellow of both the National Agency of Research (ANII) and the PEDECIBA program, the main research-funding institutions in Uruguay. Laurenzo has also performed artistic and academic activities in several institutions including The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Microsoft Research, Carnegie Mellon Univer-sity, Brunel University, Ericsson, University of Iowa, Stochastic Labs, and INRIA, among others. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the PEDECIBA Program, advised by Dr. Alvaro Cassinelli, University of Tokyo.