Panel: Platform Power and AI: The Case of Content

This panel brings experts together from law, philosophy, computer science and media studies to explore how digital platforms exercise power over which content is visible online, and which content is promoted to users, with a special focus on the use of algorithmic systems to achieve these ends. We’ll aim to achieve the following:

  1. Establish a baseline understanding of the facts of the matter: how are algorithms being deployed for content moderation and promotion, and in what kinds of sociotechnical systems? What are the social impacts of this, as best we can tell? How can we separate out the
    impacts of recommendation systems from other social trends?
  2. Raise and discuss what different fields mean by power, and how they can use that concept to study something like content moderation and promotion.
  3. Deepen our understanding of the normative considerations at stake: why does all this matter? How much does it matter?
  4. Consider some possible paths forward: technical, regulatory, perhaps cultural. Identify principles by which to assess those paths forward.

The composition of the panel is as follows:

  • Taina Bucher. Associate Professor in Screen Cultures at the University of Oslo, author of If… Then: Algorithmic Power and Politics (OUP, 2018), and Facebook (Polity, 2021).
  • Aleksandra Korolova. WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor of Computer Science at University of Southern California.
  • Cailin O’Connor. Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of California, Irvine, author of The Misinformation Age: How False Beliefs Spread (Yale, 2018).
  • Nicolas Suzor. Professor of Law, Queensland University of Technology, author of Lawless: The Secret Rules that Govern our Digital Lives (Cambridge: 2019).
  • Seth Lazar. Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University.