This post is not about how to analyze big data – it is about impact and implications for laws, business and our society. How do we ensure that our increasing reliance on data, algorithms and AI does not come at a cost?
Below, I include some great articles on the topic. Please read on, and would love to hear your thoughts via the comments section below.
Mark Buchanan explores recent research and efforts, such as the Open Algorithms Projects; he says we must control how data are used, second, open up by making it more widely available, then re-balance power between companies and individuals.
Algorithms have gone wild in Ariel Bogle’s piece; they incorrectly label welfare recipients as cheats, and blacks, recidivist risks, give rise to “mathwashing.”
Writer Nick Diakopoulos, Fellow at Columbia Tow Center; Assistant Professor of Journalism, University of Maryland, cites similar issues, and shares a case study in transparency in which he “guided students in submitting FOIA requests to each of the 50 states. We asked for documents, mathematical descriptions, data, validation assessments, contracts and source code related to algorithms used in criminal justice, such as for parole and probation, bail or sentencing decisions.”
Offers a point vs. counterpoint; Markus Ehrenmann of Swisscom says “Yes.” Mouloud Dey of SAS says “No.”
The marketing guru says that algorithms are dumbing down media.
Lisa Lacy reports that Google amended its algorithm to combat holocaust deniers; but if manual intervention is needed for high profile fails, but what about other important issues that don’t get as much attention?
Cathy Reisenwitz offers a nice primer, and argues for making algorithms open source.
Steve Lohr voices concerns about the growing market power of big tech, and explains potential antitrust issues arising from their collection of data. He writes: “The European Commission and the British House of Lords both issued reports last year on digital “platform” companies that highlighted the essential role that data collection, analysis and distribution play in creating and shaping markets. And the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development held a meeting in November to explore the subject, “Big Data: Bringing Competition Policy to the Digital Era.””