User testing of ‘fairness toolkit’ to address algorithmic bias
Members of the Human Centred Computing Group are currently involved in the UnBias research project ( http://unbias.wp.horizon.ac.uk/). This investigates the user experience of algorithm-driven internet platforms and explores contemporary concerns that algorithmic processes can lead to inaccurate, unfair or even discriminatory outcomes. As part of the project we are developing a ‘fairness toolkit’ of material resources that are designed to raise awareness and debate over key project themes. The toolkit will consist of: 1) Awareness Cards – a set of cards intended to help young people (secondary school age, roughly 12-17) devise and explore scenarios that illustrate how bias in algorithmic systems can affect them; 2) TrustScapes – a tool for mapping (on large sheets of paper) how young people visualise how they perceive the issues of algorithmic bias, data protection and online safety and what they would like to see done to make the online world fair and trustworthy; and 3) Empathy MetaMaps – a tool for “stakeholders” - such as employees of online platforms, developers, technologists, researchers, policymakers, regulators, public agency officials, civil servants etc. - to collaboratively/cooperatively respond to the TrustScapes shared by young people as a sector.
We are looking for a student to conduct several rounds of user testing of the tools. This testing will take the form of group activities, focus groups, interviews and surveys etc. In addition to conducting the testing the student will analyse the data collected in order to assess the quality of the toolkit, identify ways in which it might be refined and devise an impact strategy for the toolkit in practice.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites. The study will suit a student interested in developing skills in social research methods and human computer interaction approaches, as well as in gaining experience in public engagement. It would therefore particularly suit a student interested in undertaking doctoral study. We will assist in providing training in the methods to be used in the study as well as assistance with securing ethical clearance and recruiting research participants