HomeTechnologyInside a Misfiring Government Data Machine

Inside a Misfiring Government Data Machine

master mentalism tricks

Last week, WIRED published a series of in-depth, data-driven stories about a problematic algorithm the Dutch city of Rotterdam deployed with the aim of rooting out benefits fraud.

In partnership with Lighthouse Reports, a European organization that specializes in investigative journalism, WIRED gained access to the inner workings of the algorithm under freedom-of-information laws and explored how it evaluates who is most likely to commit fraud. 

We found that the algorithm discriminates based on ethnicity and gender—unfairly giving women and minorities higher risk scores, which can lead to investigations that cause significant damage to claimants’ personal lives. An interactive article digs into the guts of the algorithm, taking you through two hypothetical examples to show that while race and gender are not among the factors fed into the algorithm, other data, such as a person’s Dutch language proficiency, can act as a proxy that enables discrimination.

The project shows how algorithms designed to make governments more efficient—and which are often heralded as fairer and more data-driven—can covertly amplify societal biases. The WIRED and Lighthouse investigation also found that other countries are testing similarly flawed approaches to finding fraudsters.

“Governments have been embedding algorithms in their systems for years, whether it’s a spreadsheet or some fancy machine learning,” says Dhruv Mehrotra, an investigative data reporter at WIRED who worked on the project. “But when an algorithm like this is applied to any type of punitive and predictive law enforcement, it becomes high-impact and quite scary.”

The impact of an investigation prompted by Rotterdam’s algorithm could be harrowing, as seen in the case of a mother of three who faced interrogation

But Mehrotra says the project was only able to highlight such injustices because WIRED and Lighthouse had a chance to inspect how the algorithm works—countless other systems operate  with impunity under cover of bureaucratic darkness. He says it is also important to recognize that algorithms such as the one used in Rotterdam are often built on top of inherently unfair systems.

“Oftentimes, algorithms are just optimizing an already punitive technology for welfare, fraud, or policing,” he says. “You don’t want to say that if the algorithm was fair it would be OK.”

It is also critical to recognize that algorithms are becoming increasingly widespread in all levels of government and yet their workings are often entirely hidden fromthose who are most affected.

Another investigation that Mehrota carried out in 2021, before he joined WIRED, shows how the crime prediction software used by some police departments unfairly targeted Black and Latinx communities. In 2016, ProPublica revealed shocking biases in the algorithms used by some courts in the US to predict which criminal defendants are at greatest risk of reoffending. Other problematic algorithms determine which schools children attendrecommend who companies should hire, and decide which families’ mortgage applications are approved.

Many companies use algorithms to make important decisions too, of course, and these are often even less transparent than those in government. There is a growing movement to hold companies accountable for algorithmic decision-making, and a push for legislation that requires greater visibility. But the issue is complex—and making algorithms fairer may perversely sometimes make things worse.

Read The Full Article Here

trick photography

Popular posts

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Season 16 Teaser Trailer Features
V/H/S/99 SteelBook Giveaway for the Horror Anthology Movie
The Blackening Final Trailer Teases Lionsgate’s Horror Comedy Movie
The Secret Meaning of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol
Manifest Season 4 Episode 17 Review: Threshold
Hallmark Media Announces Two New Star-Filled Christmas in July Movies
Fox News’ Janice Dean Gives Health Update Amid MS battle
Manifest Season 4 Episode 18 Review: Lift/Drag
‘The Idol’: How to Watch & Stream The Weeknd’s New
Succession’s Penultimate Episode, “Church and State,” Captures the Chaos of
Tool’s Maynard James Keenan challenges Florida’s anti-drag law at Welcome
French Montana Taps Kodak Black for ‘I Can’t Lie’ From
Inside the Real-Life Malibu Barbie Café Opening in NYC and
Tails of Love
I’m Obsessed With Candles—Any of These 18 Spring Ones Will
Margot Robbie Covers Vogue in a Cone-Bra Corset, Sheer Briefs,
28 Fascinating, Fun Facts About Books and Reading
6 Scottish Thrillers With a Political Twist
Professional Book Nerd vs
Three Enchanting Tales for Kids to Read This Pride Month
Thousands of New Creatures Discovered in Deep-Sea Mining Zone
Stephen Hawking’s most famous prediction could mean that everything in
What Is Paxlovid Rebound, and How Common Is It?
Does the giant blob of seaweed headed to Florida really
Everyone Wants to Regulate AI
Sealed iPhone From 2007 Sells for $39,000 at Auction
The Speedrunners Trying to Break ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears
Shocking Leaked Tesla Documents Hint at Cybertruck Problems