Module 1: Introduction

Topic 3: Introduction to Responsible and Ethical AI

Why are we studying ethical and responsible AI?

If you pay attention to AI in the news, you probably have realized just how many potential pitfalls there are to improperly developed or deployed AI! There is a lot of fear around AI, ranging from people losing their jobs to AI controlling their lives through their credit ratings and access to housing or even the AI taking over their healthcare.  

How will we study ethical and responsible AI?

We have an entire class at OU focused on ethical and responsible AI!  In this class, my goal is to have you think about the ethical issues with each module that we study.  I want you to realize that no AI method is free of ethical issues and we must become careful developers of the new technology.  Move fast and break things is not the right motto with AI, especially as it really can affect so many parts of our lives!


This first ethics topic is really done best as a social event!  We don’t have time in the hybrid class to watch this together and the fully online students are not coming to a classroom at the same time so I strongly encourage you to make this a social event on your own by inviting your friends!  This is really an important movie and important issues for you to learn about as scientists. This applies not only to the majority of you who are CS majors but also to the rest of you as creators of technology in other ways!  We must ensure that what we do is not recreating injustices and in fact is actively helping to make the world better.

Assignment: Watch the Coded Bias movie

  • Watch the movie Coded Bias
  • OU has purchased the movie for any OU member (anyone with a valid login to OU libraries) to watch.  The link is below but it will require you to sign in to watch the movie (after you sign it, it will take you to a mymedia link).  Note, this movie is also available on netflix and other platforms and you are welcome to watch it on one of those platforms as well. The link below is available for free but the movie is the same!  Please make this a social opportunity and watch the movie together and discuss!

Post-movie reading

The movie that we watched, Coded Bias, was created by the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League. After watching the movie, please explore the following websites:

  • Coded Bias resources and discussions
    • There are two recordings of discussions with the key researcher in the film (they are long, up to you if you want to watch them or read transcripts or just explore around)
    • Read through the Activist Toolkit – this contains a lot of resources including the questions that we will use to start our discussion (though you are very welcome to add more!).  It includes two really interesting declarations as well.  
  • Coded Bias movie take action part of their website 
  • The Algorithmic Justice League website.  Explore their research projects and other parts of the website.

Assignment: Discussion

Hybrid students

Watch the movie and come to class prepared to discuss it.  You should read the questions below assigned to the asynchronous students but you are not required to participate in the discussion on slack (but feel free to join if you want)

Asynchronous students

Your discussion will happen in the #coded-bias channel on slack.  We are going to have an active discussion on slack and the hybrid students will also discuss the movie in class!  Make sure you follow all the classroom rules of conduct and always be respectful, even if you disagree.

If we were in a room together, the conversation would be free-flowing.  I want our conversation to be in that same spirit.  I have seeded the discussion with the questions from the activist toolkit above but I want you to add your own questions and thoughts to the discussion!  Remember to use threading to make it easier to keep track of what is happening in the discussion.

The following are the initial questions.  Please add more!  I made each one of these a thread to make it easier to follow.

  • What did you learn from watching the Coded Bias movie that applies to your life and career?
  • When was the last time you were aware of an interaction with an algorithm?
  • What does the AI you interact with nudge you to do?
  • What data did AI use to decide what you see?
  • What choices did the AI take away?
  • How can AI be used in an equal and ethical manner?
  • What are you willing to do to protect your privacy and autonomy?

Grading Declaration

Hybrid students

You should only go to the grading declaration during class and fill it out after discussion ends.

Asynchronous students

Go to the canvas grading declaration and fill out your declaration for this part of the module!