Northwestern Events Calendar


Linguistics Colloquium Series: Anjalie Field

When: Friday, November 10, 2023
3:30 PM - 6:00 PM CT

Where: Chambers Hall, Lower level, 600 Foster St, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Talant Abdykairov  

Group: Linguistics Department

Category: Academic


Linguistics Colloquium Series: Anjalie Field

Affiliation: Johns Hopkins University

Topic: Equity and NLP in High Stakes Domains

Abstract: Practitioners are increasingly using algorithmic tools in high-stakes settings, like healthcare, social services, policing, and education with particular recent interest in natural language processing (NLP). These domains raise a number of challenges, including preserving data privacy, ensuring model reliability, and developing approaches that can mitigate, rather than exacerbate historical bias. In this talk, I will discuss recent work in two of these areas: child protective services and policing. In the first domain, we investigate tools for processing social worker notes and ways they may perpetuate racial bias. In the second domain, we develop speech processing tools for policy body camera footage with the goal of improving police accountability. Both domains involve challenges in working with messy minimally processed data containing sensitive information and domain-specific language. This work emphasizes how NLP has potential to advance social justice goals, like police accountability, but also risks causing direct harm by perpetuating bias and increasing power imbalances.

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