Biased Algorithms Are Easier to Fix Than Biased People
In one study published 15 years ago, two people applied for a job. Their résumés were about as similar as two résumés can be. One person was named Jamal, the other Brendan.
In a study published this year, two patients sought medical care. Both were grappling with diabetes and high blood pressure. One patient was black, the other was white.
Both studies documented racial injustice: In the first, the applicant with a black-sounding name got fewer job interviews. In the second, the black patient received worse care.
But they differed in one crucial respect. In the first, hiring managers made biased decisions. In the second, the culprit was a computer program.