‘Mutant Algorithms’ and the Challenges in Responsible Data Science

How did a ‘mutant algorithm’ throw the future of more than a quarter of a million young people awaiting their A-level results into the air this summer, creating turmoil, despair and justified anger? What does the future look like in a world where an individual’s future hinges upon the analysis of data and its outputs?

The A-level fiasco offers merely one example of the way in which contemporary societies are increasingly relying on algorithms and data to make decisions. Even more sophisticated algorithms, including those that utilise machine learning, often referred to as ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) are transforming almost every social sector: from transport, manufacturing and finance through to entertainment, education, health, shopping and dating with potentially dramatic implications for the way in which economic, political, and cultural power is accumulated, exercised and distributed.

Although these technologies offer myriad benefits largely in the form of efficiency and convenience, there is also public anxiety about the ‘rise of the machines’. In particular, there is growing recognition of the need and importance of exercising more meaningful oversight and supervision over these powerful technologies, and the need to work towards a more responsible, inclusive approach to their design, development and implementation.

Join our panel of legal, policy and governance experts as they discuss the challenges of responsible data science and ‘life at the coal face’ of policy in a dynamic and fast-changing field.

Birmingham Tech Week is run in association with:


Sophia Adams Bhatti
Head of Strategy and Policy

John Groom
Senior Associate
Baker McKenzie

Marion Oswald
Vice Chancellors Senior Fellow in Law
Northumbria University, Newcastle

Anand Pandya
Legal Counsel, Technology and Innovation

Professor Karen Yeung
Interdisciplinary Professorial Fellow in Law, Ethics and Informatics
University of Birmingham

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