When Algorithms Discriminate
This all are part of the idea that the universe is a clock and we just have to figure out the parts and we’ll solve it. Algorithms don’t discriminate any more than a line on a graph does. The problem is in our choice of algorithms and the naive notion that there is one path to follow. I’ve often pointed out that arrest records do correspond to the likelihood someone is a criminal but taking that statistical result and applying it to individuals is fraught with problems. The surprise is that anyone is surprised by this.
After all this desire to find the answers in a formula or an algorithm is not new. We had Taylorism in the 1930’s and TMC is running a series of shorts including one that tells how the army in World War II is using science to assign people to the right jobs. And, of course, there’s the whole idea of IQ test. Amusing that an ad for Lumosity appeared when I was looking at article – IQ is just another muscle?
Another version is the notion that “the market” will do the right thing somehow. There the naiveté is in assume that there is something called “the market” and that that we’ll like the result.
I know, I know, this time we’ll figure out the formula for the future …
Posted on Dewayne's Warspeed List