From Nanette Byrnes at Technology Review:
We seem to be idolizing algorithms, imagining they are more objective than their creators.
The dustup over Facebook’s “trending topics” list and its possible liberal bias hit such a nerve that the U.S. Senate called on the company to come up with an official explanation, and this week COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company will begin training employees to identify and control their political leanings.
This is just one result, however, of a broader trend that Fred Benenson, Kickstarter’s former data chief, calls “mathwashing”: our tendency to idolize programs like Facebook’s as entirely objective because they have mathematics at their core.More.
Grasshopper, who is the “we” who thought they weren’t biased?
See also: Darwin’s Doubt: Fake Steve Meyer Facebook pages a new Internet publishing craze
More self-deceptive blather on academic freedom