Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our algorithmic overlords

The WSJ reviews a new book about the prevalence of algorithmic decision-making. We shouldn't blame algorithms so much as the objectives their designers build into them, it says. We need to be transparent about that.

On the whole, though, Mr. Steiner believes that we need to accept our algorithmic overlords. Accept them we might—but first we should vigorously, and transparently, debate the rules they are imposing. Following several high-profile scandals involving algorithmic trading, regulators in Hong Kong have recently proposed that all such algorithms be audited and tested every year. Similar calls have been made with regard to independent audits of Google's search algorithms—if only to avoid the impression that the company might be favoring its own services in its search results.


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