Module 2: Idealized Searches

Topic 4: Responsible and Ethical AI for Idealized Searches

Why are we talking about ethics for searching?

From the first module on the overall need for ethical and responsible AI, you learned some of the unexpected ways in which AI and automation can affect people.  You might be wondering how search algorithms could have anything of the same impact as face recognition or changing your credit score.  The news provides some examples of unintended side effects of search algorithms.  See below!

The Waze Effect

One unintended side effect of “just a search algorithm” is what was termed the Waze effect.  Here are three examples articles on the phenomena created by a simple desire to get home faster.


  • There are other real-world ethical implications of the search algorithms you have learned so far. The task for ALL students is to think about this and you can even do some online searching as needed.
  • The discussion will differ for hybrid versus online students.
    • Hybrid students be ready to discuss in class.  Bonus if you participate in the online discussion also!
    • Online students should write a SHORT few sentences of their ideas of another application area where you think there are ethical implications of search.  Put this discussion in #ethics
      • Note, if you do this assignment much later than everyone else, it will be harder!  If you can’t come up with any new ideas, then make sure you discuss what has been posted.
      • Bonus if you come up with an idea that not on a Euclidean map but is still essentially based in one of the search algorithms you learned about this module.
  • Grading declarations