Social Work in Data Science: Tech Policy Gaps and Addressing Harm

Dr. Siva Mathiyazhagan, Shana Kleiner, and Dr. Desmond U. Patton

There is currently no passed federal legislation regulating companies creating artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic tools, such as social media e-surveillance tools, facial recognition detection tools, and pre-trial risk assessments. The issue with limited regulation of the deployment of AI technologies is the fact that these algorithms are often biased against people of color, particularly women of color. The job of social work only has a 3% risk of automation, making it the hardest job for robots to do. This is why social work's role in AI development is imperative: social work is not quantifiable, and with collaboration between emerging technologists and social workers, there will be a deeper understanding of justful human connection, and what it means to interface with technology.  The tech policy brief discusses the lack of federal regulation regarding emerging tech developments in Artificial Intelligence, and calls for the implementation of social workers within data science spaces. 

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Recommendations to End 21st Century Online “Stop and Frisk” Policing

Kelly Anguiano, Eno Darkwa, and Dr. Desmond U. Patton

Due to the perpetually changing nature of the online world, the current laws that cover protections to citizen’s privacy and bodies, do not always cover the entirety of their personhood online, thus allowing for surveillance. The widespread digital policing has serious implications for Black and Brown youth’s lives in terms of the carceral system, as communities of color are socially construed/presented to be problematic sites or “digital hoods.” ‘Patrols’ of activities (including but not limited to liking/commenting on a post) can land an individual on the NYPD gang database. This database disproportionately patrols and targets communities of color: with only 1.1% of the people on the gang database are White, with 66% Black and 31.7% Latinx, with children as young as 13 years old being added.. To promote inclusivity and reduce racial bias, we recommend policy centered on Restorative Justice principles of community involvement- specifically through social media post analysis, to add layers of interpretation prior to law enforcement surveillance and offline involvement.

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