How to Fairly Use Algorithms to Make Tough Decisions

Route Fifty: The power of data to help states and localities make decisions more effectively has long been a given. But the use of complex algorithms in government complicates that picture, raising essential questions about whether the data being used is free from the biases and inequities so often present in our communities.

What exactly are algorithms? Dan Chenok, executive director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government, defines them as the complex equations built into a computer system’s software, “which enables interpretation of data in a much more powerful way than people could on their own.”

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