Discrimination algorithms

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Claire Cain Miller for the Upshot on when algorithms discriminate:

There is a widespread belief that software and algorithms that rely on data are objective. But software is not free of human influence. Algorithms are written and maintained by people, and machine learning algorithms adjust what they do based on people’s behavior. As a result, say researchers in computer science, ethics and law, algorithms can reinforce human prejudices.

I bring this up often, because I apparently still hold a grudge, but I will always remember the time I told someone I study statistics. He responded skeptically, “Don’t computers do that for you?”

In the words of Jeffrey Heer: “It’s an absolute myth that you can send an algorithm over raw data and have insights pop up.”

Favorites

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

Who is Older and Younger than You

Here’s a chart to show you how long you have until you start to feel your age.

Life expectancy changes

The data goes back to 1960 and up to the most current estimates for 2009. Each line represents a country.

How We Spend Our Money, a Breakdown

We know spending changes when you have more money. Here’s by how much.