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Inside the Suspicion Machine

Wired: “Obscure government algorithms are making life-changing decisions about millions of people around the world. Here, for the first time, we reveal how one of these systems works…Machine learning algorithms like Rotterdam’s are being used to make more and more decisions about people’s lives, including what schools their children attend, who gets interviewed for jobs, and which family gets a loan. Millions of people are being scored and ranked as they go about their daily lives, with profound implications. The spread of risk-scoring models is presented as progress, promising mathematical objectivity and fairness. Yet citizens have no real way to understand or question the decisions such systems make. Governments typically refuse to provide any technical details to back up claims of accuracy and neutrality. In the rare cases where watchdogs have overcame official stonewalling, they’ve found the systems to be anything but unbiased. Reports have found discriminatory patterns in credit scoring, criminal justice, and hiring practices, among others…”

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