Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab Announces Projects Recommended for CFP Funding

On Friday, Jan. 28, the Notre Dame-IBM Tech Ethics Lab announced more than two dozen projects recommended for funding totaling over $500,000. The projects were submitted in response to the lab’s initial Call for Proposals (CFP).

The call sought proposals focused on at least one of six core themes related to the ethics of: scale, automation, identification, prediction, persuasion, and adoption. More than 100 proposals were received, representing every continent but Antarctica, with North America, Africa, and Europe leading the way.

Vía Libre Foundation’s Ethincs and AI Team was selected to receive this support for our work on detecting, preventing and mitigating unwanted biases in Natural Language Processing applications.

The general goal of our project is to disponibilize, adapt and develop tools and frameworks for detecting, preventing and mitigating unwanted biases in Natural Language Processing applications. We will be focusing our work in word embeddings: a widely used but very opaque building block for many NLP models and applications. In parallel, we will develop a good practice guide based on Human Rights principles for local developers of natural language-based systems in Spanish. The tools developed in this project will help developers and non technical stakeholders to evaluate, detect and mitigate unwanted biases in models and data, contributing to build a latinamerican IA ethics.

We are an interdisciplinary team with a background and long experience in social science and computer science research. To this we add our strength in integrating academic work with public policy advocacy, an excellent relationship with civil society in Latin America and the possibility of giving increasing visibility to the work in our field. In addition, our team has a strong focus on gender diversity.

We want latin-americans NLP practitioners to be able to use the existing tools and frameworks to build more fair, accountable and transparent systems. Nowadays there is no go-to off-the-shelf tool that assists practitioners in assessing the systems they create: we intend to change this. Success for this project is the integration of ethics and fairness principles in the software industry development lifecycle.

More information available at the web site of the iniciative.