Alongside the excitement about science fiction “coming to life” through increasingly futuristic gadgets and services, there is growing concern about the implications of an algorithm-driven society. Scholars and thinkers are debating the potential impact of automated decision-making on equality, autonomy, and dignity, and addressing the need for oversight mechanisms that protect fundamental freedoms and human agency.
A global community has converged around the themes of fairness, accountability, and transparency, as part of the attempt to address opaque systems, power and information asymmetries, and due process. A series of FAT/ML conferences was instrumental in elevating a multidisciplinary approach (along with Ethics in NLP and similar convenings). The FAT* initiative expanded the focus beyond machine learning and, since 2018, the (soon to be renamed) ACM FAT conference has been one of the most anticipated annual events in this area. On January 11-12, Digital Asia Hub held the first FAT/Asia conference at Hong Kong University, with an exclusive focus on developments and research from the region.