Essays on Technology and Culture

The Bias in Our Algorithms

“Algorithms are not designed in a vacuum, but rather in conjunction with the designer’s analysis of their data. There are two points of failure here: the designer can unwittingly encode biases into the algorithm based on a biased exploration of the data, and the data itself can encode biases due to human decisions made to create it. Because of this, the burden of proof is (or should be!) on the practitioner to guarantee they are not violating discrimination law.”

What does it mean for an algorithm to be fair? | Math ∩ Programming

There is a sense that technology is something separate from humanity, that it is free of our human flaws and foibles. Nothing could be further from the truth. The very human biases we have, conscious and unconscious, are infused into the technology we create. To claim otherwise is disingenuous and dangerous.