Tech and Politics

Andreas Jungherr

Algorithms: Fears & What can we do to improve algorithms use in society?

2023-12-07 34 min Season 2 Episode 8

Description & Show Notes

In this episode, we focus on remaining fears and challenges associated with algorithms: bubbles and loops, the alignment problem, and opaqueness. We close the discussion of algorithms by an account what can be done to improve their uses in society.

Algorithms are used in ever more societal areas. This raises broad concerns. While in principle algorithms provide a set of clearly defined steps to solve a given problem, their current uses have raised the question whether this is still the case. In the following sections, we will focus on concerns about algorithms trapping people in algorithmically constructed bubbles and loops, the alignment problem, and opaqueness of algorithmic decision making and its consequences.

But these worries should not distract us and blind us with fear. The use of algorithms in society is not optional. So these issues should point us to improving algorithms and their use, not entertain the illusion of somehow avoiding their use. This includes conscious and informed approaches to mechanism design underlying the algorithm and algorithm auditing and forensics.