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Algorithmic bias: Where it comes from and what to do about it

Andrew Oram, Ifeoma Ajunwa, Geoff A. Cohen, Ben Green

Algorithms are the new boogie men in social control and institutional discrimination. There is bias and lack of accountability in the algorithms that determine who gets hired for a job, who can get a loan, who qualifies for insurance, and even who goes to jail.

Well-designed algorithms can eliminate natural human bias. But with black-box algorithms, humans seem to be losing control over the machines that control our lives.

Sharing the source code implementing algorithms isn’t enough. Bias may be built into algorithms: for instance, an algorithm using actual random stops and arrests could recommend harsh treatment for blacks, as they are targeted more frequently by cops.

Research suggests a counter-intuitive approach to ameliorating bias. One must not be blind to demographic categories who experience discrimination--instead one must actively monitor these factors.

Panelists will present their views for a few minutes, then taking comments and questions from the audience.

Slides: https://media.libreplanet.org/u/libreplanet/m/algorithmic-bias-where-it-comes-from-and-what-to-do-about-it-49ed/


6 years, 8 months ago

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video · lp2017 · LibrePlanet · LibrePlanet 2017 · LibrePlanet 2017 video

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LibrePlanet 2017 Videos (libreplanet)


CC BY 4.0


This talk was presented at LibrePlanet.


LibrePlanet is the Free Software Foundation's annual conference. The FSF campaigns for free/libre software, meaning it respects users' freedom and community. We believe that users are entitled to this; all software should be free.


We do not advocate "open source".

That term was coined to reject our views. It refers to similar practices, but usually presented solely as advantageous, without talking of right and wrong.


Richard Stallman launched the free software movement in 1983 by announcing development of the free operating system, GNU. By 1992, GNU was nearly operational; one major essential component was lacking, the kernel.


In 1992, Torvalds freed the kernel Linux, which filled the last gap in GNU. Since then, the combined GNU/Linux system has run in millions of computers. Nowadays you can buy a new computer with a totally free GNU/Linux system preinstalled.


The views of the speaker may not represent the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation supports the free software cause and freedom to share, and basic freedoms in the digital domain, but has no position on other political issues.