The Ethicist Spotlight highlights people who are doing some of the most important work in our field. We'll get an insight into their career paths, learn what they are working on and understand their thoughts on the future of tech ethics.
A tech problem is often not just a tech problem, but one that is rooted in inequitable structures in society, and so we need the involvement of policymakers, activists, industry leaders to make meaningful change.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Tulsi Parida and I’m a Senior AI & Data Policy Manager at Visa. My work is both external and internal facing – I use what I learn in the policy/regulatory world outside to help inform internal best practices on responsible data and AI use at the company. I work in our Data Science & Innovation team, but am lucky to be able to work cross-functionally and with teams in different geographies.
How did you first get involved in technology ethics?
I started my career in education and ed-tech and while working in ed-tech in India became fascinated with the intersection of technology, society, and justice. The tech I was working with just wasn’t built for the communities we wanted to operate in and I wanted to better understand the systemic factors behind the disconnect between the technological solutions my company built and the community’s actual needs. I then took some time to study the societal aspects of technology creation and adoption at the Oxford Internet Institute in 2017 and have been working in this area more broadly since then.
I’m trying to better understand how different mathematical definitions of fairness can lead to different types of discrimination and what that means for technology decision-makers in public and private sector.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently looking at the evolving global policies around AI fairness, harms, and risks and what that means for industry. There have been a lot of interesting developments in AI regulation and a lot of focus on AI fairness and fairness tools in academia, civil society, and industry. I’m trying to better understand how different mathematical definitions of fairness can lead to different types of discrimination and what that means for technology decision-makers in public and private sector.
What do you see as the biggest challenge for technology ethics over the next 5 years?
It’s hard to pin-point one, but I find that a lot of work in tech ethics is fragmented by sector, industry, you name it. I think our biggest challenge when it comes to ethical technology is going to be how we can truly use a systems approach to address problems. A tech problem is often not just a tech problem, but one that is rooted in inequitable structures in society, and so we need the involvement of policymakers, activists, industry leaders to make meaningful change.
If you could go back in time, what work related advice would you give to yourself 5 years ago?
The question “where do you want to be in X years?” can actually be limiting because you don’t know what your possibilities are yet. Say yes to interesting projects even if they are adjacent to the work you’re doing now – you never know where it can take you!
How do you avoid ethics washing in your work?
By always asking the uncomfortable questions and making sure I’m talking to a wide range of people when making decisions.
Want to keep up to date with the world of tech ethics?
Whose work do you admire in this field?
There are so many incredible people in this field! I absolutely love that women and POC are so prominent in the tech ethics space. I always point people to Mia Shah Dand’s Women in AI Ethics space – it’s a great list of very accomplished women and non-binary people in this space. I love the list because it’s global and has voices not just from Western countries: 100 Brilliant Women In AI Ethics .
What ethics resources would you recommend to anyone in this field?
Twitter has been my best friend in getting good resources on ethics – follow everyone in the list above and you’ll have exposure to so much interesting research from around the world on the topic. I’m also a fan of newsletters. Hattusia’s is really good!
You can follow Tulsi Parida on Twitter here.