Prof. Niva Elkin-Koren: Contesting Algorithms

The growing pressure on online platforms to expeditiously remove illegitimate content, is fostering the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to minimize their potential liability. This is potentially game-changing for democracy.

It facilitates the rise of unchecked power, which often escapes judicial oversight and constitutional restraints. The use of AI to filter unwarranted content cannot be sufficiently addressed by traditional legal rights and procedures, since these tools are illequipped to address the robust, non-transparent and dynamic nature of governance by AI.

Consequently, in a digital ecosystem governed by AI, we currently lack sufficient safeguard against the blocking of legitimate content, while securing due process and ensuring freedom of speech. Niva Elkin-Koren proposes to address AI-based content moderation, by introducing contesting algorithms.

The rationale of Contesting Algorithms, is that algorithmic content moderation often seek to optimize a single goal (i.e., removing copyright infringing materials as defined by rigthholders,). At the same time, other values of the public inter-est (fair use, free speech) are often neglected. Contesting Algorithms introduce an adversarial design, which reflects conflicting interests, and thereby offer a check on dominant removal systems. The presentation will introduce the strategy of Contesting Algorithms, and demonstrate how regulatory measures could promote the development and implementation of this strategy in online content moderation.

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