The Real Reason Tech Struggles With Algorithmic Bias

Are Machines Racist? Are algorithms and artificial intelligence inherently prejudiced? Do Facebook, Google, and Twitter have political biases? Those answers are complicated.

But if the question is whether the tech industry doing enough to address these biases, the straightforward response is no.

Yaël Eisenstat is a former CIA officer, National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, and CSR leader at ExxonMobil. She was the Elections Integrity Operations Head at Facebook from June to November 2018.

Warnings that AI and machine learning systems are being trained using “bad data” abound. The oft-touted solution is to ensure that humans train the systems with unbiased data, meaning that humans need to avoid bias themselves. But that would mean tech companies are training their engineers and data scientists on understanding cognitive bias, as well as how to “combat” it. Has anyone stopped to ask whether the humans that feed the machines really understand what bias means?

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