Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Sunday February 12, 2017

Algorithms (Secretly) Run the World

Are you in control of your life? Maybe not, or, at least, not as much as you think. See, complex mathematical formulas are basically intertwined with anything and everything these days, and no one is batting an eye at how many decisions are essentially being made for you. Of course, the problem here is that algorithms are not perfectآ—more specifically, they originated with a human touch, meaning that they are arguably tainted with people problems. Er, so what is the solution here, considering that "bias, accountability and ethical decisions...exist whether you are using algorithms or not"? Thanks to Kyle for this one.

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When you browse online for a new pair of shoes, pick a movie to stream on Netflix or apply for a car loan, an algorithm likely has its word to say on the outcome. The complex mathematical formulas are playing a growing role in all walks of life: from detecting skin cancers to suggesting new Facebook friends, deciding who gets a job, how police resources are deployed, who gets insurance at what cost, or who is on a "no fly" list. آ…fears are rising over the lack of transparency algorithms can entail, with pressure growing to apply standards of ethics or "accountability." Data scientist Cathy O'Neil cautions about "blindly trusting" formulas to determine a fair outcome. "Algorithms are not inherently fair, because the person who builds the model defines success," she said.

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