Can algorithms be racist?

News. The Internet is often regarded as a “great equalizer” in societal terms. But the use of Big Data can have the opposite effect, by reinforcing social and racial prejudices, Michael Brennan, Technology Program Officer at Internet Freedom, writes. By design, Big Data will look for patterns and integrate them in analyses. If an employer has a tendency to pick Caucasian applicants, so called intelligent software applied in the process will interpret this as an recommendation. The problem of biases is even more evident online, because people are not restricted by social norms as in real life and thus tend to be more outspoken and less civilized. The solution is more transparency and effective regulation with regard to the those algorithms. They are running a significant part of our lives, and elected officials as well as the public at large need to engage in these vital questions.

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