Provisional Draft of the NeurIPS Code of EthicsDownload PDF

May 02, 2022 (edited May 06, 2022)OpenReview Anonymous Preprint Blind SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: Code of Ethics, NeurIPS, Ethics
  • TL;DR: Current working draft of NeurIPS Code of Ethics. We solicit community feedback before finalizing it.
  • Abstract: Over the past few decades, research in machine learning and AI has had a tremendous impact in our society. The number of deployed applications has greatly increased, particularly in recent years. As a result, the NeurIPS Conference has received an increased number of submissions (approaching 10,000 in the past two years), with several papers describing research that has foreseeable deployment scenarios. With such great opportunity to impact the life of people comes also a great responsibility to ensure research has an overall positive effect in our society. Before 2020, the NeurIPS program chairs had the arduous task of assessing papers not only for their scientific merit, but also in terms of their ethical implications. As the number of submissions increased and as it became clear that ethical considerations were also becoming more complex, such ad hoc process had to be redesigned in order to properly support our community of submitting authors. The program chairs of NeurIPS 2020 established an ethics review process, which was chaired by Iason Gabriel. As part of that process, papers flagged by technical reviewers could undergo an additional review process handled by reviewers with expertise at the intersection of AI and Ethics. These ethical reviewers based their assessment on guidelines that Iason Gabriel, in collaboration with the program chairs, drafted for the occasion. This pilot experiment was overall successful because it surfaced early on several papers that needed additional discussion and provided authors with additional feedback on how to improve their work. Extended and improved versions of such ethics review process were later adopted by the NeurIPS 2021 program chairs as well as by other leading machine learning conferences. One outstanding issue with such a process was the lack of transparency in the process and lack of guidelines for the authors. Early in 2021, the NeurIPS Board gave Marc'Aurelio Ranzato the mandate to form a committee to draft a code of Ethics to remedy this. The committee, which corresponds to the author list of this document, includes individuals with diverse background and views who have been working or have been involved in Ethics in AI as part of their research or professional service. The first outcome of the committee was the Ethics guidelines, which was published in May 2021. The committee has worked for over a year to draft a Code of Ethics. This document is their current draft, which has not been approved by the NeurIPS Board as of yet. The Board decided to first engage with the community to gather feedback. We therefore invite reviews and comments on this document. We welcome your encouragement as well as your critical feedback. We will then revise this document accordingly and finalize the draft, hoping that this will become a useful resource for submitting authors, reviewers and presenters.
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