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NBC News | 03.10.17

Algorithms Learn From Us, and We Can Be Better Teachers

Solon Barocas, Suresh Venkatasubramanian

D&S affiliates Solon Barocas and Suresh Venkatasubramanian discuss the implications of machine-learning algorithms in real life.

What if someone is refused a loan and suspects it had something to do with the area they live, which happens to include a lot of people with low credit scores?

They may never find out what happened as it’s extremely difficult to inquire about the inner-workings of an algorithm or legally challenge it, explains Solon Barocas, a researcher at Microsoft Research.

“It requires a significant amount of insight into how the model is developed, and often people who are discriminated against won’t be in a position to learn those things,” Barocas says.

Solon Barocas

Suresh Venkatasubramanian


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