In late 2018, a PwC senior manager named Patricia Miller, age 32, learned about a new opportunity in her Florida office called the Digital Accelerators program. Her local firm was recruiting a group of about 1,000 employees, drawn from a base of more than 45,000 nationally, to become pioneers in advanced technology. These early adopters would spend two months in intensive training and return ready to help their fellow employees succeed in a world of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and digitally enabled platforms.
The Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design
by Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth, Oxford University Press, 2019
Strava, a San Francisco–based fitness website whose users upload data from their Fitbits and other devices to track their exercise routines and routes, didn’t set out to endanger U.S. military personnel. But in November 2017, when the company released a data visualization of the aggregate activity of its users, that’s what it did.
Strava’s idea was to provide its users with a map of the most popular running routes, wherever they happened to be located. As it turns out, the resulting visualization, which was composed from three trillion GPS coordinates, also showed routes in areas, such as Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, where the few Strava users were located almost exclusively on military bases. Their running routes inadvertently revealed the regular movements of soldiers in a hot zone of insurgency.