Category Archives: theory

Algorithms we want | n.n. — notes & nodes on society, technology and the space of the possible, by felix stalder

If we now demand that algorithms have to be made better in this applied sense, we only demand that the program that was built into them should work better. But this program is not just harmless efficiency, the definition of the problems and the possible solutions almost always corresponds to a neo-liberal world view. By this I mean three things: First, the society is individualized. Everything is attributed to individual, specifiable persons separated by their differences from one another and action means first and foremost individual action. Second, the individuals so identified are placed in a competing relationship with one another, through all sorts of rankings on which one’s own position relative to that of others can rise or fall. And, third, the group or the collective – which expresses the consciousness of its members as related to one another – is replaced by the aggregate, which is essentially formed without the knowledge of the actors. Either because it is supposed to emerge spontaneously, as Friedrich von Hayek thought it, or because it is constructed behind the backs of the people in the closed depths of the data centers. Visible to a few actors only.

Source: Algorithms we want | n.n. — notes & nodes on society, technology and the space of the possible, by felix stalder

Attack discrimination with smarter machine learning

If the goal is for the two groups to receive the same number of loans, then a natural criterion is demographic parity, where the bank uses loan thresholds that yield the same fraction of loans to each group. Or, as a computer scientist might put it, the “positive rate” is the same across both groups.In some contexts, this might be the right goal. In the situation in the diagram, though, there’s still something problematic: a demographic parity constraint only looks at loans given, not rates at which loa

Source: Attack discrimination with smarter machine learning

How Algorithms Can Hurt Society: A Chat With Math Radical Cathy O’Neil | Tech at Bloomberg

I’ll be speaking about the book I wrote called Weapons of Math Destruction. It talks about how algorithms can be used against people, and how it’s having a destructive effect on equality and democracy. It’s exacerbating inequality. We’re using algorithms to reward rich people and prey on poor people.   Is there a way out of this situation we’re in? Sure. I don’t think it’s inherent for algorithms to be like that. In fact, I don’t think it’s entirely like that. But I think that there’s a danger that we’re b

Source: How Algorithms Can Hurt Society: A Chat With Math Radical Cathy O’Neil | Tech at Bloomberg

Artificial Moderation: A Reading List – The Coral Project

A lot of research has been carried out around using data analysis to identify different aspects of online behavior. Before I detail some of it below, I should add a note of caution: all analytics are only as good as how they are utilized in decision making by end users.The complex interplay between computational tools and human actors in sociotechnical systems (such as online communities) means that great technology and analytics can still fall flat if the community policies aren’t “right”. Engagement e

Source: Artificial Moderation: A Reading List – The Coral Project

Netflix says Geography, Age, and Gender are “Garbage” for P…

Big Data is making broad categories irrelevant for targeting consumers.

Netflix rolled out to 130 new countries earlier this year, and you might expect that it began carefully tailoring its offerings for each of them, or at least for various regions. But as a new Wired feature reveals, that couldn’t be further from the truth—Netflix uses one predictive algorithm worldwide, and it treats demographic data as almost irrelevant.

Source: Netflix says Geography, Age, and Gender are “Garbage” for P…

Law as Information in the Era of Data-Driven Agency

This contribution introduces the mathematical theory of information that ‘informs’ computer systems, the internet and all that has been built upon it. The aim of the author is to invite lawyers to reconsider the grammar and alphabet of modern positive law and of the Rule of Law, in the face of the alternative grammar and alphabet of a data-driven society. Instead of either embracing or rejecting the technological transitions that reconfigure the operations of the law, this article argues that lawyers should collaborate with the computer scientists that engineer and design the affordances of our new onlife world. This is crucial if we want to sustain democratic participation in law-making, contestability of legal effect and transparency of how citizens may be manipulated by the invisible computational backbone of our rapidly and radically changing world.

Source: Law as Information in the Era of Data-Driven Agency – Hildebrandt – 2016 – The Modern Law Review – Wiley Online Library