The leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have some serious explaining to do about bias and discrimination when they appear Wednesday at an antitrust hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
The abuse of trust by the platform-based companies we rely on most has largely flown under the radar as a global pandemic heightens and highlights fissures in our society. But our data and our choices continue to be manipulated in problematic ways — often by algorithms that subtly introduce bias into the prices we pay and the information and options made available to us. It is essential that we hold our digital gatekeepers accountable.
The algorithms at issue have a veritable fire hose of our data at their disposal, and they aren’t the neutral equations we might assume them to be. They are the product of humans, and because of that they have a tendency to perpetuate human biases.