Comments
A Day Without Algorithms
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Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
5/20/2014 | 10:45:20 AM
No Balance?
I realize you're exaggerating to make a point, but are you advocating that there should be no limits on the use of algorithmic decision-making? I think the spread of automated systems worries people because it's the ultimate in implaccable bueracracy.
IMjustinkern
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IMjustinkern,
User Rank: Strategist
5/20/2014 | 11:34:27 AM
Re: No Balance?
Drew, totally agree. This article is an interesting thought exercise to the point of thinking of the alternative ... a total reliance on algos? Automated systems running on auto-pilot? That's a "Brazil" type future that's more frustrating than horrifying.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
5/20/2014 | 2:02:54 PM
Re: No Balance?
"Brazil" was exactly what I was thinking of!
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
5/20/2014 | 6:42:33 PM
Re: No Balance?
Algorithms that affect people in meaningful ways (selecting people for job interviews, for example, or denying insurance coverage or driving driverless cards or counting votes) need to be open to public scrutiny.
castrotech
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castrotech,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2014 | 5:58:02 PM
Re: No Balance?
For public sector algorithms (e.g. who is selected for jury duty), openness probably makes a lot of sense. For private sector algorithms, there might be some proprietary information at stake. If you require these to be made public, you might reduce incentives to innovate. There are certainly algorithms that affect people in meaningful ways (e.g. dating apps) that are not open.  There is also a difference between just making it open and making a company go through a regulatory review process. The goal should be to balance innovation with protecting basic rights.
castrotech
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castrotech,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/21/2014 | 6:01:45 PM
Re: No Balance?
Agree with your point about an "implaccable bureacracy." That's the worst. But people forget that even 10 years ago, we lived in a world with algorithms, they were often just really dumb algorithms. After all, "No, I can't do that. Company policy." is an algorithm too. My point is that smarter algorithms should help reduce some of these pain points. Compared to the status quo, that will often be much better. And when we have much more efficiency from algorithmic decision making, we can also make it much easier to resolve the boundary cases -- i.e. actually having a human to resolve things when you would otherwise be stuck in the bureacratic nightmare.


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