Jahna Otterbacher

Cyprus Center for Algorithmic Transparency (CyCAT), Open University of Cyprus

Date: 17th of May, 2021

Time: 16:00 (CET)

Title: It’s about time…and perspective: A critical look at the use of crowdsourcing in buiding image datasets

Abstract: Computer vision algorithms are recently under intense scrutiny for their tendency to discriminate against people of color and women. In this talk, we’ll take a critical look at the data practices behind the creation of such algorithms, and specifically, the use of paid micro-task crowdsourcing, in building image datasets. First, I will present examples of our ongoing work on auditing the behaviors of popular, commercial image analysis services, in which we compare how the algorithms and crowdworkers describe the same set of standardized, people images. Next, I present a follow-up study in which we replicated the same crowdsourcing task, prompting workers to describe the people images, 18 months later, during the difficult times of 2020. The results clearly illustrate the inherent temporal sensitivities, with significant variations surrounding the themes of racial identity and health. In concluding the talk, we’ll discuss ways of promoting more responsible generation and use of crowdsourced datasets.

Speaker Biography: Jahna Otterbacher received her doctorate from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, USA), School of Information. She is currently Associate Professor at the Open University of Cyprus (OUC), School of Pure and Applied Sciences. Jahna coordinates the Cyprus Center for Algorithmic Transparency (CyCAT) at the OUC, funded by the H2020 Widespread Twinning program. The CyCAT seeks to promote transparency and accountability in algorithmic systems that people routinely use, but that are rather opaque to them, through three types of interventions – data-, developer- and user-focused. In addition to her post at the OUC, Jahna holds a concurrent appointment as team leader of the Transparency in Algorithms Group at CYENS, a new center of excellence and innovation in Nicosia, Cyprus, in collaboration with two international Advanced Partners, UCL and MPI.

Homepage: http://www.cycat.io/team/jahna-otterbacher/

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Video Recording