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Gamm Symposium examines fairness and bias concerns in artificial intelligence

October 23, 2019 2:15 PM
Alina Hernandez



The impact of artificial intelligence on education, financial instruments, criminal justice and healthcare, are just a few of the topics that will be addressed at this year’s Gordon Gamm Comparative Law and Justice Symposium on Nov. 8.

Leading this year’s Symposium, titled The Implications of Artificial Intelligence for a Just Society,  is Tulane Law Prof. Kristin Johnson, a national leader in the legal issues surrounding artificial intelligence and the law school’s 2019 Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar. The event will be held in the John Giffen Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret Street, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Symposium will bring experts in this burgeoning area of law to Tulane, to discuss the broad societal implications of AI. The rise of artificial intelligence introduces efficiencies and new opportunities in finance, employment, education, criminal law enforcement risk assessments, national security and the automation of various professions, including the development of smart contracts and the automation of various skills associated with the practice of law.

Recursive learning and neural networks enable machine learning algorithms to adapt beyond simple instructions and independently assess data in decision-making processes. Early evidence indicates, however, that learning algorithms may operate in a manner that leads to unfair, biased or unethical and in some cases, discriminatory outcomes.

Among the topics discussed by panels are the impact of AI on finance and employment, including the ethical and discriminatory risks; the displacement of humans in law enforcement, education, digital gaming and law; impact on ethics; and gender bias.

Distinguished panelists include:

  • Matthew Bruckner, Associate Professor of Law, Howard University Law School ;
  • Stephen Rea Campbell, Research Assistant Professor at Colorado School of Mines and University of California Irvine, Department of Anthropology;
  • Wendy Greene, Frances Lewis Scholar-in-Residence, Washington & Lee University Law School;
  • Dr. Nicholas Mattei, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Tulane;
  • Suzanne T. Mestayer, Managing Principal, ThirtyNorth Investments, LLC;
  • Xuan-Thao Nguyen, Gerald L. Bepko Chair in Law, Director, Center for IP & Innovation, Indiana University McKinney School of Law;
  • Najarian Peters, Faculty Associate, Berkman Klein Center For Internet & Society, Harvard University, and Institute for Privacy Protection, Seton Hall University Law School.

A full program can be found here.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

 It is available for 2.5 hours of Continuing Education Credits (CLE) in Texas, Alabama and Louisiana.

The Gamm Comparative Law and Justice Symposium is made possible through the generosity of Grace and Gordon Gamm (L ’70) and the Gordon J. Gamm Comparative Law Endowed Fund.  The Fund supports the appointment each year of a Gordon Gamm Faculty Scholar, an early-career Tulane Law professor, and provides the resources to expand their research and engagement with other scholars and the broader public.

Johnson, the 2019 Gamm Scholar, has established herself as one of the first and most influential legal scholars to study the ways in which the algorithms used in artificial intelligence can unintentionally entrench racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination by embodying and reinforcing implicit biases. She testified on these issues before a Congressional committee this summer. 

By sponsoring the event, Gamm continues to support the law school with his passion for comparative law. Past Gamm Faculty Scholars include Profs. Saru Matambanadzo (equality law), Sally Richardson (comparative law), Ann Lipton (corporate law), and Robert Westley (racial reconciliation).