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Workshop 3: Prof. Jason R. Baron, ‘Challenges in Providing Access To The Digital Universe: Are Algorithms The Answer?’

Workshop 3: Prof. Jason R. Baron, ‘Challenges in Providing Access To The Digital Universe: Are Algorithms The Answer?’

On Friday 28th January 2022, Jason R. Baron (University of Maryland) presented the keynote “Challenges in Providing Access To The Digital Universe: Are Algorithms The Answer?” at the third AEOLIAN workshop. The workshop looked at the topic of “What challenges do Machine Learning and AI raise in terms of privacy, ethics, research integrity, reproducibility, and bias?”.

Abstract:  The sheer volume of electronic and digital records in archives and other cultural institutions is already overwhelming the ability to provide meaningful access to patrons and the public at large.  In the United States, the National Archives currently holds over a billion pages of White House emails and attachments going back to the 1980s, only a fraction of which are publicly available.  Machine learning techniques, properly applied, may be useful in searching for relevant records and filtering those records for personal information and other sensitive content.  But what are the privacy-related and other obstacles we presently encounter in using AI methods?  Can we trust the algorithms used to open up archival collections?  And if we don’t trust AI, does going digital mean for all practical purposes going dark for many decades to come?

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