Algorithms are incredible aids for making data-driven, efficient decisions. And as more industries uncover their predictive power, companies are increasingly turning to algorithms to make objective and comprehensive choices. However, while we often rely on technology to avoid inherent human biases, there is a dark side to algorithm-based decisions: the potential for homogenous data sets to produce biased algorithms.
Many of the people and companies employing algorithms hope that their use of technology in replacement of humans results in reduced unconscious bias. While it would be great if it were that simple, this mindset is often a case of “mathwashing:” our tendency to attribute objectivity to technology.