On October 12th, Benedetta Giovanola, Professor of Ethics, University of Macerata delivered a perceptive talk on “AI and Social Justice” as part of the IEAI Speaker Series.

“How we relate to others as equals is also connected to embracing diversity and recognizing differences among individuals.”

In her talk, Professor Giovanola opened by examining the concept of social justice within theories of justice. Within this focus, she addressed the distributive and socio-relational dimensions of social justice, i.e.: treating others and standing as equals, equality of opportunity, right to justification and relationship equality. She then addressed the subjective, objective and structural circumstances of justice.

Professor Giovanola then moved on to speak about social justice in AI ethics and specifically emphasized the importance of bias-free AI systems and algorithmic fairness. Here she spoke about to what extent and how bias could potentially be eliminated, as well as the underrepresentation of the Global South in AI ethics.

“It seems that the understanding of social justice in the context of AI Ethics is closely associated with the concept of ‘negative fairness.”

In summary, Professor Giovanola proposed changing the discourse from a negative to a positive view of fairness, including more consideration for distributive and especially of the socio-relational dimensions of social justice, and highlighting the importance of respect for people as a whole and as individuals.

We would like to express our gratitude to Professor Giovanola for her insightful talk and engaging with the IEAI community on this vital and highly relevant issue. We’d additionally like to thank our event registrants for their participation. The recordings of the event are available here.

Speaker Series with Benedetta Giovanola