How the algorithms running your life are biased

Source: Molly Shuetz, Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Software programs don’t just recommend books and movies you might like: they also determine the interest rate you’ll pay on a loan, whether you land a dream job and even the chance you might commit a crime.

The hope was that computers trained to find patterns in vast pools of data would make such decisions more objectively than humans do. Instead, researchers are finding that algorithms -- the logic at the heart of software programs -- can replicate and even amplify the prejudices of those who create them.

The problem arises in how data is used and interpreted -- especially when algorithms characterize people via correlations or “proxy” data.

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