If We’re Not Careful, Tech Could Hurt the Fight against COVID-19

When COVID-19 emerged, many of us felt the instinct to use our technical skills to contribute something—and fast. But as researchers and technologists at Stanford, we also felt deep concern, having witnessed technologists’ blind spots and biases give birth to many dangerous technologies, including digital gaydar, deepfakes, discriminatory AI, AI surveillance and more. Even well-meant technologies can shift power away from those they purport to help. We have come to recognize that while the desire to help during COVID-19 is right, the rush to push just any COVID-19 technology is wrong and even has the potential to kill.

Trying to innovate their way back to normal, many technologists without previous medical or ethical expertise have proposed or deployed projects to calculate risk scores, trace contacts, model disease patterns and enforce quarantines. This inundation of ill-advised projects has led people to fall victim to misinformation and scams, eroded trust in science and provided cover for governments to expand their powers. Most new COVID-19 technologies risk adding to the chaos and eroding fundamental freedoms. With the stakes so

— source scientificamerican.com | Ria Kalluri, Lauren Gillespie, Agata Foryciarz, Wren Elhai, Sanjana Srivastava, Argyri Panezi, Lisa Einstein | May 18, 2020

Nullius in verba

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