SNCJ Deep Dive: Regulating Algorithms
Like it or not, artificial intelligence and computer algorithms are determining the outcome of more and more of your life’s most significant events. Like whether you get a job. Or a home loan. Or get into college. Or get a vaccine, or perhaps have your health care completely taken away. Or if you go to jail, and for how long. As data scientist and author Cathy O’Neil of the Public Interest Tech Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School says, “If you had a human bureaucratic process 15 years ago, it probably is being run by an algorithm now.”
In theory, all of this is intended to level the playing field for anyone in these situations. But as this use increases, so does concern that built in cultural and gender biases are not only not leveling the playing field, they are actually exacerbating the problems they were intended to solve.
With that in mind, pressure is growing on states, municipalities and the federal government to regulate the use of algorithms, and specifically to require companies who use them to perform regular assessments to ensure they are not inherently biased.
To better understand this complex issue, we are joined today at the Deep Dive by Shae Brown and Jovana Davidovic of the University of Iowa, who have studied and written extensively on this issue.