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Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness St NW
Washington, DC 2008
United States

Directions & Nearby
Room
Moot Court Room, Houston Hall

Event Description

The Federal Trade Commission held the seventh session of its Hearings Initiative, with a two-day hearing at the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., on November 13-14, 2018. Howard University was a co-sponsor of the event.

The hearing examined competition and consumer protection issues associated with the use of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics in business decisions and conduct.
The hearing informed the FTC, other policymakers, and the public of:

  • the current and potential uses of these technologies;
  • the ethical and consumer protection issues that are associated with the use of these technologies;
  • how the competitive dynamics of firm and industry conduct are affected by the use of these technologies; and,
  • policy, innovation, and market considerations associated with the use of these technologies.

To further its consideration of these issues, the agency sought public comment on the questions listed below, and it welcomes input on other related topics not specifically listed here.

Background on Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics, and Applications of the Technologies

  1. What features distinguish products or services that use algorithms, artificial intelligence, or predictive analytics? In which industries or business sectors are they most prevalent?
  2. What factors have facilitated the development or advancement of these technologies? What types of resources were involved (e.g., human capital, financial, other)?
  3. Are there factors that have impeded the development of these technologies? Are there factors that could impede further development of these technologies?
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages for consumers and for businesses of utilizing products or services facilitated by algorithms, artificial intelligence, or predictive analytics?
  5. From a technical perspective, is it sometimes impossible to ascertain the basis for a result produced by these technologies? If so, what concerns does this raise?
  6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of developing technologies for which the basis for the results can or cannot be determined? What criteria should determine when a “black box” system is acceptable, or when a result should be explainable?

Common Principles and Ethics in the Development and Use of Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

  1. What are the main ethical issues (e.g., susceptibility to bias) associated with these technologies? How are the relevant affected parties (e.g., technologists, the business community, government, consumer groups, etc.) proposing to address these ethical issues? What challenges might arise in addressing them?
  2. Are there ethical concerns raised by these technologies that are not also raised by traditional computer programming techniques or by human decision-making? Are the concerns raised by these technologies greater or less than those of traditional computer programming or human decision-making? Why or why not?
  3. Is industry self-regulation and government enforcement of existing laws sufficient to address concerns, or are new laws or regulations necessary?
  4. Should ethical guidelines and common principles be tailored to the type of technology involved, or should the goal be to develop one overarching set of best practices?

Consumer Protection Issues Related to Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

  1. What are the main consumer protection issues raised by algorithms, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics?
  2. How well do the FTC’s current enforcement tools, including the FTC Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, address issues raised by these technologies?
  3. In recent years, the FTC has held public forums to examine the consumer protection questions raised by artificial intelligence as used in certain contexts (e.g., the 2017 FinTech Forum on artificial intelligence and blockchain and the 2011 Face Facts Forum on facial recognition technology). Since those events, have technological advancements, or the increased prevalence of certain technologies, raised new or increased consumer protection concerns?
  4. What roles should explainability, risk management, and human control play in the implementation of these technologies?
  5. What choices and notice should consumers have regarding the use of these technologies?
  6. What educational role should the FTC play with respect to these technologies? What would be most useful to consumers?

Competition Issues Related to Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

  1. Does the use of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics currently raise particular antitrust concerns (including, but not limited to, concerns about algorithmic collusion)?
  2. What antitrust concerns could arise in the future with respect to these technologies?
  3. Is the current antitrust framework for analyzing mergers and conduct sufficient to address any competition issues that are associated with the use of these technologies? If not, why not, and how should the current legal framework be modified?
  4. To what degree do any antitrust concerns raised by these technologies depend on the industry or type of use?

Other Policy Questions

  1. How are these technologies affecting competition, innovation, and consumer choices in the industries and business sectors in which they are used today? How might they do so in the future?
  2. How quickly are these technologies advancing? What are the implications of that pace of technological development from a policy perspective?
  3. How can regulators meet legitimate regulatory goals that may be raised in connection with these technologies without unduly hindering competition or innovation?
  4. Are there tensions between consumer protection and competition policy with respect to these technologies? If so, what are they, and how should they be addressed?
  5. What responsibility does a company utilizing these technologies bear for consumer injury arising from its use of these technologies? Can current laws and regulations address such injuries? Why or why not?

Comments should be submitted no later than February 15, 2019. If any entity has provided funding for research, analysis, or commentary that is included in a submitted public comment, such funding and its source should be identified on the first page of the comment.

Disability Accommodation

The FTC Hearings On Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Request for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at ekraszewski@ftc.gov or by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. Please allow at least five days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.

  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    9:10-9:15 am

    Welcome and Introductory Remarks

    Andrew I. Gavil
    Professor
    Howard University School of Law

    9:15-9:45 am

    Introduction to Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

    John P. Dickerson
    Assistant Professor
    University of Maryland, College Park

    9:45-10:15 am

    Opening Address

    Michael Kearns
    Professor
    University of Pennsylvania

    10:15-10:30 am

    Break

    10:30-12:15 pm

    Understanding Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics Through Real World Applications

    Participants:

    Michael D. Abràmoff
    Professor, University of Iowa
    Founder & CEO, IDx Technologies, Inc.

    Angela Granger
    Vice President, Analytics
    Experian

    Henry Kautz
    Division Director
    National Science Foundation

    Melissa McSherry
    Senior VP, Global Head of Data Products
    Visa, Inc.

    Dana Rao
    Executive VP & General Counsel
    Adobe

    Teresa Zayas Cabán
    Chief Scientist
    Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

    Moderators:
    Karen A. Goldman
    Attorney Advisor, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Policy Planning

    Harry Keeling
    Associate Professor, Howard University, Department of Computer Science

    12:15-1:15 pm

    Lunch

    1:15-3:00 pm

     

     

    Perspectives on Ethics and Common Principles in Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

    Participants:

    Erika Brown Lee
    Senior VP & Assistant General Counsel
    Mastercard

    Rumman Chowdhury
    Global Lead, Responsible AI
    Accenture Applied Intelligence

    James Foulds
    Assistant Professor
    University of Maryland, Baltimore County

    Naomi Lefkovitz
    Senior Privacy Policy Advisor
    National Institute of Standards and Technology

    Mark MacCarthy
    Senior VP of Public Policy
    Software & Information Industry Association

    Martin Wattenberg
    Senior Research Scientist
    Google

    Moderators:
    Karen A. Goldman
    Attorney Advisor, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Policy Planning

    James Trilling
    Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection

    3:00-3:15 pm

    Break

    3:15-5:00 pm

    Consumer Protection Implications of Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

    Participants:

    Ryan Calo
    Associate Professor
    University of Washington School of Law

    Fred H. Cate
    Senior Policy Advisor
    Center for Information Policy Leadership
    Professor
    Indiana University
    Maurer School of Law

    Jeremy Gillula
    Tech Policy Director
    Electronic Frontier Foundation

    Irene Liu
    General Counsel
    Checkr

    Marianela López-Galdos
    Director of Competition & Regulatory Policy
    Computer & Communications Industry Association

    Moderators:
    Tiffany George
    Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection

    Katherine Worthman
    Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, Division of Financial Practices

    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    9:00-9:15 am

    Welcome and Introductory Remarks

    Bruce Hoffman
    Director, Bureau of Competition
    Federal Trade Commission

    9:15-10:45 am

    Algorithmic Collusion

    Participants:

    Rosa M. Abrantes-Metz
    Managing Director, Global Economics Group
    Adjunct Associate Professor
    New York University

    Ai Deng
    Principal, Bates White
    Lecturer
    Johns Hopkins University

    Joseph E. Harrington, Jr.
    Professor
    University of Pennsylvania

    Kai-Uwe Kühn
    Professor, University of East Anglia
    Senior Consultant
    Charles River Associates

    Sonia Kuester Pfaffenroth
    Partner
    Arnold & Porter

    Maurice E. Stucke
    Professor, University of Tennessee College of Law
    Co-founder, The Konkurrenz Group

    Moderators:
    Ellen Connelly
    Attorney Advisor, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Policy Planning

    James Rhilinger
    Deputy Assistant Director, Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition

    10:45-11:00 am

    Break

    11:00-11:15 pm

    Framing Presentation (prerecorded)

    Michael I. Jordan
    Professor
    University of California, Berkeley

    11:15-12:45 pm

    Emerging Competition, Innovation, and Market Structure Questions Around Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

    Participants:

    Robin Feldman
    Professor
    University of California, Hastings
    College of the Law

    Joshua Gans
    Professor
    University of Toronto

    Preston McAfee
    Economist

    Nicolas Petit
    Professor
    University of Liège School of Law

    Moderators:
    Brian O’Dea
    Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Competition

    Nathan Wilson
    Economist, Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Economics

    12:45-1:00 pm

    Presentation

    Joy Buolamwini
    Founder
    Algorithmic Justice League

    1:00-2:15 pm

    Lunch

    2:15-2:45 pm

    Keynote

    Jennifer Wortman Vaughan
    Senior Researcher
    Microsoft Research

    2:45-4:15 pm

    Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead: Roundtable Discussion of Key Legal and Regulatory Questions in the Field

    Participants:

    Justin Brookman
    Director, Consumer Privacy & Technology Policy
    Consumers Union

    Pam Dixon
    Founder & Executive Director
    World Privacy Forum

    Salil Mehra
    Professor
    Temple University School of Law

    Arvind Narayanan - Unable to attend
    Associate Professor
    Princeton University

    Joshua New
    Senior Policy Analyst
    Center for Data Innovation

    Nicol Turner-Lee
    Fellow, Center for Technology Innovation
    Brookings Institution

    Moderators:
    Ellen Connelly
    Attorney Advisor, Federal Trade Commission, Office of Policy Planning

    Benjamin Rossen
    Attorney, Federal Trade Commission, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection

    4:15-4:30 pm

    Closing Remarks

    Danielle Holley-Walker
    Dean
    Howard University School of Law

  • Request for Comments

    If parties already filed relevant comments in response to the Initial Topics for Comment, they need not refile those comments here.

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