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How Algorithms Can Steer You in the Wrong Direction

Tobias Baer Thought Leadership
January 27, 2020

 

Tobias Baer provides clear and concise examples of how Google uses the acquisition of select data to create bias, which leads to the dissemination of inaccurate information.  

 

I’m an avid user of the navigation function of Google Maps. Every time I reach my destination, Google asks me for feedback on the navigation instructions. What could possibly be wrong with that? Well, I bet that the data and any analytics derived from that feedback often – and, vastly! – overestimates users’ satisfaction. Why is that?

The app is a perfect illustration of availability bias. I only am given this opportunity to provide feedback when I reach my destination. Which means that if I reach a river only to find that the ferry supposed to take me and my car to the other riverside has stopped operations an hour ago, or if after a few hours of cycling I find that the path indicated by the app leads straight into a gigantic military infrastructure that is fenced by barbed wires with large red signs threatening any trespasser to be shot (both has actually happened to me), and hence my only option is to abolish my route, exit the navigation, and go back to where I come from, no feedback is collected.

 

Points covered in this article include:

  • The problem with creating algorithms quickly
  • The lack of sufficient communication
  • The challenge of creating objective, systematic assessment procedures

 

Read the full article, A Little Example How Google Creates Biases, on LinkedIn.

tags AI, Algorithmic bias, Technology