Turing Lecture: Algorithmic Accountability

Speaker: Ben Shneiderman (University of Maryland, USA)

Date: 30 May 2017

Time: 13:30 – 16:30

Location: Knowledge Centre







Algorithmic Accountability:
Designing for safety through human-centered independent oversight

In this talk, Ben Shneiderman will explore how some social strategies can play a powerful role in making systems more reliable and trustworthy.


He will look at strategies that support human-centred independent oversight during planning, continuous monitoring during operation, and retrospective analyses following failures.

Vital services such as communications, financial trading, healthcare, and transportation, depend on sophisticated algorithms. Some of these rely on unpredictable artificial intelligence techniques that are increasingly embedded in complex software systems, such as deep learning.

As high-speed trading, medical devices, and autonomous aircraft become more widely implemented, stronger checks become necessary to prevent failures.

Ben will discuss how by designing strategies that promote human-centred systems which are comprehensible, predictable and controllable we can increase safety and make failure investigations more effective.

He will also stress the importance of clarifying responsibility for failures to stimulate improved design thinking.



Ben Shneiderman is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland.

He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, and NAI, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualisation.

His contributions include the direct manipulation concept, clickable highlighted web-links, touchscreen keyboards, dynamic query sliders, development of treemaps, novel network visualisations for NodeXL, and temporal event sequence analysis for electronic health records.

Shneiderman is the lead author of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th ed., 2016). He co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think with Stu Card and Jock Mackinlay and Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL with Derek Hansen and Marc Smith.