Posts tagged algorithmics
In the next ten years we will see data-driven technologies reconfigure systems in many different sectors, from autonomous vehicles to personalized learning, predictive policing to precision medicine. While the changes that we will see will create new opportunities, they will also create new challenges — and new worries — and it behooves us to start grappling with these issues now so that we can build healthy sociotechnical systems.
Policy algorithms can cause real damage that is difficult to remedy under existing legal protections, especially when algorithms terminate basic services. If community members are unfairly stigmatized by police surveillance or incorrectly denied care for acute medical conditions, it is nearly impossible to make them whole after the fact. So how do we preserve fairness, due process, and equity in automated decision-making?
Since we’re agent engineers, my husband and I tend to think agents are great. Also, we’re lazy and stupid by our own happy admission — and agents make us a lot smarter and more productive than we would be if we weren’t “borrowing” our brains from the rest of the internet. Like most people, whatever ambivalence we feel about our agents is buried under how much better they make our lives. Agents aren’t true AI, though heavy users sometimes think they are. They are sets of structured queries, a few API modules for services the agent’s owner uses, sets of learning algorithms you can enable by “turning up” their intelligence, and procedures for interfacing with people and things. As you use them they collect more and more of a person’s interests and history — we used to say people “rub off” on their agents over time.