Surveillance, discretion and governance in automated welfare
In this open licensed lecture from the Controversies in the Data Society Seminar Series 2018-2022 series, Dr Morgan Currie presents three longstanding concerns – one focused on surveillance and social sorting, another on the loss of human discretion with the introduction of automation, and a third with challenges wrought by automation to due process and governance – to understand how these systems can discriminate against and unduly burden claimants.
Several important studies and journalistic investigations have now found that automated-decision making in welfare systems burden claimants by forecasting their behaviour, targeting them for sanctions, and punishing them without revealing the underlying mechanisms driving such decisions.The talk also introduces a new study, Automating Universal Credit, that focuses on the automated and digital components of UK’s major social security payment, and how these systems interact with administrative power and behavioural conditioning to carry out benefit distribution.
Dr. Morgan Currie is Lecturer in Data and Society in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Her research and teaching interests focus on open and administrative data, algorithms in the welfare state, activists’ data practices, civil society and democracy, social justice and the city, cultural mapping and critical GIS.
This lecture by Dr Morgan Currie at The University of Edinburgh, is available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 licence.
Header Image: Title screen of video