Ding wang

Whose Responsibility? The Case for Responsible Data Practice

Speaker: Ding Wang, Ph.D., Senior Researcher at Google Research

Date: 2024-2-15 12:30 pm

Technology Square Research Building (TSRB, 1st Floor Ballroom)
85 Fifth Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30308

Diversity in datasets is a key component to building responsible AI/ML. Despite this recognition, we know little about the diversity among the annotators involved in data production. Additionally, despite being an indispensable part of AI, data annotation work is often cast as simple, standardized and even low-skilled work. In this talk, I present a series of studies that aim at unpacking the data annotation process with an emphasis on the data worker who lifts the weight of data production. This includes interview studies to uncover both the data annotator’s perspective of their work and the data requestor’s approach to the diversity and subjectivity the workers bring; an ethnographic investigation in data centers to study the work practices around data annotation; a mixed methods study to explore the impact of worker demographic diversity on the data they annotate. While practitioners described nuanced understandings of annotator diversity, they rarely designed dataset production to account for diversity in the annotation process. This calls for more attention to a pervasive logic of representationalist thinking and counting that is intricately woven into the day to day work practices of annotation. In examining structure in which the annotation is done and the diversity is seen, this talk aims to recover annotation and diversity from its reductive framing and seek alternative approaches to knowing and doing annotation. 

Ding Wang is a senior researcher at Google Research, her current research focus is to explore the intersection of HCI and AI, specifically the labour involved in production of data and its impact on AI systems subsequently. Prior to joining Google, Ding completed her postdoc research from Microsoft Research India, where her research projects focused on the future of work and health care. Prior to joining MSR, Ding has completed her PhD from HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training in Lancaster University and her doctoral thesis offers a critical/alternative view on how smart cities should be designed, developed and evaluated.