Thinking About Algorithms

Take 7 minutes of your day and read this “primer”  on algorithms. Models that underlie Wall Street investing, Amazon advertising, disease diagnosis and even park our cars. Their role in our lives is getting bigger and bigger, so it is important to spend a couple of minutes to think about their strengths and their weaknesses.

Their primary strength is efficiency. They operate quickly, with little or no human effort involved in making them sing and dance. They can incorporate huge quantities of information seamlessly and eliminate the systematic “biases” to which Behavioral Economics introduced us.

BUT. Garbage in, garbage out! Many algorithms, for example, are programmed for men, leaving women by the wayside. As the author points out, algorithms can actually teach social biases by automating  disparity.  

Bottom Line. The message of this little piece is clear. The best outcomes are produced not by unchecked human behavior or by algorithms running thoughtlessly, but rather through a thoughtful combination of Artificial Intelligence and human judgement.

Think about it!

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