Show Notes: The Bias Baked Into Algorithms

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Deborah Hellman
S3 E2: The Bias Baked Into Algorithms

UVA Law professor Deborah Hellman discusses her work on how algorithms can compound injustice, and the evolution of her theory on discrimination.

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Show Notes: The Bias Baked Into Algorithms

Deborah Hellman

Deborah Hellman joined the Law School in 2012 after serving on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Law since 1994. She is the director of UVA Law’s Center for Law & Philosophy.

There are two main strands to Hellman’s work. The first focus is on equal protection law and its philosophical justification. She is the author of “When Is Discrimination Wrong?” (Harvard University Press, 2008) and co-editor of “The Philosophical Foundations of Discrimination Law” (Oxford University Press, 2013) and several articles related to equal protection. The second strand focuses on the relationship between money and legal rights. This includes articles on campaign finance law, bribery and corruption, each of which explore and challenge the normative foundations of current doctrine. Her article "A Theory of Bribery" won the 2019 Fred Berger Memorial Prize (for philosophy of law) from the American Philosophical Association.

In 2020 she won the Association of American Law Schools Section on Jurisprudence Article Award for “Measuring Algorithmic Fairness,” which was published in the Virginia Law Review. Her other article on algorithms, “Big Data and Compounding Injustice,” is forthcoming in the Journal of Moral Philosophy. 

Hellman also writes about the obligations of professional roles, especially in the context of clinical medical research. She teaches constitutional law, legal theory and contracts, as well as advanced classes and seminars on questions related to these fields.

She was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2005-06) and the Eugene P. Beard Faculty Fellow in Ethics at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University (2004-05). She was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for University Teachers in 1999.

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