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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Filed Under: ai, algorithm, biases, inputs, racist, sexist


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 1:37pm

    Racist = Anything a minority did not like, especially a black minority.

    Everyone is racist, no one understands or is accepting of all cultures, Period. It simply is not possible and never will be!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 1:52pm

      Re:

      That may be the case with humans, but not all algorithms are racist.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 2:00pm

        Re: Re:

        I refer you back to...

        Racist = Anything a minority did not like, especially a black minority.

        Truth does not matter, perception does! A simple human maxim!

        If one thing is offensive, then all things are offensive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Matthew (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 2:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Only when devoid of context.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 6:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            A lot of people twist context all day long and a lot of others buy it. The profession is called Politician. They are master chef's serving nothing but shit dinners and Americans pull up for a heaping plate of it every election.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Aug 2016 @ 5:33am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 9 Aug 2016 @ 4:23pm

      Re: Racist = Anything a minority did not like

      Do you not like that?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Aug 2016 @ 2:11pm

    Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy

    "Algorithms that discriminate are a problem that nobody's found a solution for yet."

    This could be better phrased.

    From merriam-webster.com:

    "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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 4:15pm

      Re: Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy

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


      It helps if you actually listen to the podcast before deciding what we said...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    trollificus (profile), 9 Aug 2016 @ 5:17pm

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Will-INI, 10 Aug 2016 @ 7:37am

    Why should IT be setup to solve the world's biases? It's like trying to solve the human race, where would the tinkering stop? It would never be good enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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