Designing Against Discrimination in Online Markets

The utopian vision of cyberspace saw us move beyond all the limitations of the physical. Transcendent beings of light we would leave behind greed, hate and discrimination. Is this fictional future possible, or are we destined to bring our faults with us into cyberspace?  Are our online services countering or contributing to discrimination online. Karent Levy and Solon Barocas make well the point that internet services, will be seen as having a responsibility to design and deliver ethical spaces.  Design and policy choices make online platforms more or less conducive to discrimination.   Whether deliberate or not the choices make affect users and how they interact.  This work provides a taxonomy and framework to help understand this issue and have a better understanding of how design features and the interactions between them can affect and address biases.



This piece provides a useful understanding of how assumptions and bias can creep into system that by the nature of their scope are amplifiers. This piece is US centric with regards to the examples cited, but as the ethical considerations discussed are currently not legislated anywhere, it is of value to all.



Levy, Karen EC and Barocas, Solon, Designing Against Discrimination in Online Markets (December 8, 2017). Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 32, 2018, Forthcoming.