Ethics and Information Technology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 331–343 | Cite as

From privacy to anti-discrimination in times of machine learning

  • Thilo HagendorffEmail author
Original Paper


Due to the technology of machine learning, new breakthroughs are currently being achieved with constant regularity. By using machine learning techniques, computer applications can be developed and used to solve tasks that have hitherto been assumed not to be solvable by computers. If these achievements consider applications that collect and process personal data, this is typically perceived as a threat to information privacy. This paper aims to discuss applications from both fields of personality and image analysis. These applications are often criticized by reference to the protection of privacy. This paper critically questions this approach. Instead of solely using the concept of privacy to address the risks of machine learning, it is increasingly necessary to consider and implement ethical anti-discrimination concepts, too. In many ways, informational privacy requires individual information control. However, not least because of machine learning technologies, information control has become obsolete. Hence, societies need stronger anti-discrimination tenets to counteract the risks of machine learning.


Artificial intelligence Machine learning Privacy Discrimination Fairness Algorithms Image analysis Personality analysis 



This research was supported by the Cluster of Excellence “Machine Learning – New Perspectives for Science” funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) under Germany’s Excellence Strategy: Reference Number EXC 2064/1: Project ID 390727645.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of TuebingenTübingenGermany

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