The need for unbiased & transparent design in algorithms

Algorithms have an increasingly fundamental influence on our lives. That is not necessarily positive. In order to steer the use in the right direction, SogetiLabs expert André Helderman thinks that two characteristics are essential when developing algorithms. They should be unbiased and transparent.

AI and chatbots make our lives easier. The insurance company Lemonade, which works entirely based on, assesses and pays a claim within 6 seconds. Try that within an existing insurance company.

This revolutionary customer experience is possible thanks to the use of smart algorithms. These have an increasing influence on our lives. The news we get presented, the question whether we get an insurance policy and at what premium, the decision whether we receive a certain medical treatment and even the decision whether we are condemned by the court. Experts are assisted and sometimes even replaced by algorithms.

Those algorithms are not value-free. Machines do not start learning by themselves; they learn from data. Machines are initially fed by people with data and decision-making criteria. People determine which data and criteria are used. People tend to be biased and the human bias is thus translated into algorithms. They mirror our biases. Furthermore, they have the logical tendency to enlarge the bias. Especially when a proper feedback loop is missing, as is the case with many algorithms.

Read the entire blog post and interact with André on SogetiLabs website.