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Course Details

Policy Lab: AI and Implicit Bias (de Silva de Alwis)

Spring 2023   LAW 599-001  

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Rangita de Silva de Alwis

Senior Adjunct Professor of Global Leadership

Additional Information
Experiential Course


Satisfies Senior Writing Requirement



Class meets in person.

Course Continuity
Students are encouraged to stay home if you are ill or experience flu-like symptoms. If you miss a class for any reason, it is still your responsibility to make up the work missed.

I offer the following to students who miss class due to illness:

- If you are absent, due to illness or some other unavoidable circumstance, email me and I can ask for volunteers among your classmates to share their notes with you.

Meeting Times/Location
M 12:20PM - 2:50PM
Tanenbaum Hall 145



Two credit experiential. The Lab will engage closely with Microsoft's Legal Counsel's Office and Microsoft's Office of Accessibility Primarily through a series of multilateral conversations with international stakeholders, including leaders in technology, technologists, lawyers, researchers, and designers, we will seek to understand whether and how gender bias, including implicit and unconscious biases are being baked into technological design, and whether and how these biases are being reproduced in new technologies. Currently, there is gender asymmetry in the AI workforce. Those designing, coding, engineering and programming AI technologies do not represent a diverse demographic. Our theoretical explorations will include gender equality theory, implicit bias, unconscious bias, and postcolonial theory to explore subtle barriers to equality that bleed into the design of AI technologies. This one credit experiential lab will develop a set of policy guidelines and a code of inclusion which could guide tech leaders, designers and technologists to embed pluralism and inclusion into AI systems and the future of work. Some Speakers to Class:

1) Mitchell Baker- CEO of Mozilla 2) Sean White- Chief R and D Officer- Mozilla 3) Lila Ibrahim- CEO of Deep Mind, Cover of Forbes Women and Henry Crown Fellow Aspen. 4) Safiya Noble - author of Algorithms of Oppression- Time 100 video interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in October on Times most innovative people 5) Jenni Olson-LGBTQ filmmaker - Criterion Collection- movie on AI and Bias The Elephant in AI | Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard Kennedy School AI & Implicit Bias on Vimeo I will be in Geneva for the 84th Session of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) from February 6th to the 24th. Classes will not be taught during those three weeks. I will be teaching 2.5 hours weekly for the rest of the semester. While in Geneva, I will be available for office hours at any time that my students wish to reach me on phone or by zoom after 3 pm ET on every day of the week. I will also schedule a Friday afternoon session from Geneva for students who would like to be involved in the CEDAW proceedings.

SPRING 2022 AI and Bias Policy Lab Report and Documentary

Spring 2022 Report

Course Concentrations

Intellectual Property and Technology Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of intellectual property law; Perform legal analysis in the context of intellectual property law; Communicate effectively on topics related to intellectual property; Demonstrate an understanding of the interconnection between technology and intellectual property, and how they affect other areas of law and society.

Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.

Equity and Inclusion Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Perform legal analysis in the context of topics related to equity and inclusion; Communicate effectively on the legal aspects of equity and inclusion; Demonstrate an understanding of how equity and inclusion are connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.