Techdirt Podcast Episode 85: Is Your Algorithm Racist?

from the and-what-can-be-done-about-it? dept

Algorithms have become a powerful force in the world, but for all the impressive good they do, they sometimes show some worrying tendencies. Algorithms that discriminate are a problem that nobody’s found a solution for yet. This week, we discuss why some algorithms appear to be racist, and whether there’s anything that can be done about it.

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Comments on “Techdirt Podcast Episode 85: Is Your Algorithm Racist?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Obviously, some folk are predispositioned to be racist while others not. It appears that you are of the former.

Along those same lines, truth matters to some while others not. In this case you appear to be of the latter.

And finally ….. if one thing is something then all things are that same exact something ? – – – Errrr wut?

Even trolls try harder than this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy

“Algorithms that discriminate are a problem that nobody’s found a solution for yet.”

This could be better phrased.


“Simple Definition of discriminate

: to unfairly treat a person or group of people differently from other people or groups

: to notice and understand that one thing is different from another thing : to recognize a difference between things “

My algorithms are all about classifying, ‘noticing’ that one thing is different from another, and so on. So yes, my algorithms (along with what I suspect would be the majority of those on the planet) ARE discriminatory, BY INTENT.

What I suspect you are talking about is the effect of the input to the algorithms under discussion.

Concerning my algorithms which run on a computer – I will concede that they are all CODIST or INSTRUCTION-SET-IST, because they work better on some computers than others (also BY DESIGN – because hardware). Now please lay off implying that my algoorithms are bad because they discriminate.

trollificus (profile) says:

What happens when a definition of, or extrapolation from, a dubious definition of racism runs smack dab into mean ol’ REALITY, eh?

So far, as with some really sketchy rape statistics on which some good-sized new departments and well-paying enforcement jobs depend, reality has been politely asked to make the adjustments. But I can’t be the only one who questions how far down that road we can go…?? Can I?

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