How was this algorithm designed?

Algorithms are everywhere. They make decisions for us and most the time we don’t realize it. Remember the United story where the passenger was violently ripped out of his seat? The decision to remove that specific was the result of an algorithm.

As more algorithms shape our life we must ask questions like who’s designing these algorithms, what assumptions do these designers make, and what are the implications of those assumptions?

So I’m giving a huge shout out to the podcast 99% Design for their episode on how algorithms are designed.

The Age of the Algorithm

Featuring the author of Weapons of Math Destruction, the episode takes a look at the subjective data used for algorithms that determine recidivism rates and reject job applicants. The examples used and questioned raised in this episode should have us asking more questions about the people and companies designing the algorithms that run in the background of our online and offline lives.

“Algorithms … remain unaudited and unregulated, and it’s a problem when algorithms are basically black boxes. In many cases, they’re designed by private companies who sell them to other companies. The exact details of how they work are kept secret.”

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