Bias in the Age of the Algorithm | IEEE TechEthics Virtual Panel

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About the Video: Algorithms are in use all around us, every day. How do algorithms reinforce societal biases? And how can this be addressed? This esteemed panel of thought leaders delves into a key challenge in the age of the algorithm.

About the Panelists:

Erin LeDell is the Chief Machine Learning Scientist at, the company that produces the open source, distributed machine learning platform, H2O. At, she leads the H2O AutoML project and her current research focus is automated machine learning. Before joining, she was the Principal Data Scientist at (acquired by GE) and Marvin Mobile Security (acquired by Veracode), the founder of DataScientific, Inc. and a software engineer. She is also founder of the Women in Machine Learning and Data Science (WiMLDS) organization ( and co-founder of R-Ladies Global ( Erin received her Ph.D. in Biostatistics with a Designated Emphasis in Computational Science and Engineering from University of California, Berkeley and has a B.S. and M.A. in Mathematics.

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks. She wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View and wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. She recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company.

Mathana Stender is a Berlin-based tech ethicist rights advocate and storyteller who investigates the impact of emerging technologies on individuals, communities and culture through a multidisciplinary approach that brings together art, anthropology, philosophy and socio-economic analysis. They are currently undertaking research to map ethical “gatekeepers” in the VR ecosystem, increase transparency around the origins of biometric datasets, and develop a framework to help assess the impact of automation on societies (what they’ve coined #automationomics). Mathana also works with the preservation-focused digital archivist organization Open Archive, is a member of IEEE working groups that are creating technical standards around algorithmic bias and personal AI assistants, and contributes technical expertise to international disarmament initiatives. They are a Fellow at the Centre for Internet and Human Rights (attached to the European University Viadrina), and hold degrees from the University of Texas at Dallas and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Mark A. Vasquez (moderator) is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) with over 25 years of experience in association management at IEEE. He serves as the program manager for IEEE TechEthics, a program that drives conversations about the ethical and societal impacts of technology. In this capacity, he works to develop relationships with others in the technology ethics community, produces events, convenes thought leaders, and more. Mark is an engineering graduate of The Cooper Union.

Recorded on 30 May 2019 as part of the IEEE TechEthics Conversations Series.