When you think of algorithmic governance, you may go right to things like predictive law enforcement, or risk assessment of setting bail or prison sentences for those in the criminal justice system. However, algorithms have a much broader application in the legal system, far beyond those criminal justice aspects. Drexel law professor, Hannah Bloch-Wehba walks us through a number examples of other areas which algorithm governance is being used. Broad areas which she labels as “typical poverty law settings” of welfare… medicaid… child protective services for example, and those area are continuing to expand. Court systems, administrative law departments, and other government agencies are relying upon algorithms to help with larger and larger caseloads.
Algorithms, in and of themselves, are not inherently bad. In fact, it can be very helpful in streamlining processes and alleviate the burden on different government agencies in how to handle these issues. But is it fairer than what we have now? We don’t have a good way of demonstrating that. Professor Bloch-Wehba sees the overall effect of algorithms as creating a newer playing field that is bumpy in different ways than the old one. There’s still a human element in algorithms, not just in the creation of the algorithms, but also in the acceptance of algorithmic outcomes by those who are tasked to apply them. Add to this, the “black box” which some algorithms live, and how governments are relying upon private industries to create these processes, and an inability for the government to be able to discuss how they work. Can governments give up their duty to be transparent in the name of algorithmic efficiency? How far will a democratic society tolerate with algorithms which it may not fully understand, or trust?
We cover all of these questions and discuss Professor Bloch-Wehba’s upcoming Fordham Law Review article, “Access to Algorithms,” which will be published later this year. (10:35 mark)
Archive and Delete are not the same. Garry Vander Voort of LexBlog writes about a disturbing trend he is seeing on apps where you might think you are archiving a magazine or a podcast, but in reality, you’re deleting it. He has a few suggestions on how developers can use better descriptors, including some good ol’ library terms. (2:27 mark)
Business Intelligence and Data Analytics are not the same. Rob Saccone published and excellent article on Medium a few days ago that is worth reading. We may be looking for unicorns when it comes to having someone who understands the importance of analysis as well as the comprehension of the business model. Saccone has some excellent suggestions of what businesses can do, besides seeking that elusive unicorn. (4:19 mark)
Being a Leader of a Firm and Understanding What is Going on in the Market is not the same. Tom Clay from Altman Weil suggests that all leaders at law firms take 15 minutes a day to focus on the evolution of their practice and firm. (5:51 mark)
Being at CLOC, and Reading #CLOC2019 Tweets are not the same… but, we’ll take it! Thanks to Jason Barnwell and others who are keeping us connected this week. (7:09 mark)
Bonus Inspiration: Can you Escape the Library? Dalhousie University Law School pulls out all the stops (including a working rotary phone) in its version of an Escape Room. Sounds awesome! (8:56 mark)