Tech News Algo Trust

Can We Really Trust Algorithmic Technologies

Algorithmic Technology covers many areas of computer science. One area of study is to build computers that can search the Internet and then find links between web pages and make connections between facts that they have learned. In fact, the most popular website on the Internet is a system called Google. Originally, the system was built by a group of computer science students working in their spare time at their college. Today, Google is a massive company with sales estimated in the trillions of dollars.

Another area of research into the algorithmic technology is to use it to improve social media systems. The Facebook application “Social Media Metrics” is a good example of this. This application connects real-time data from Twitter and Facebook with personal applications like Facebook Wall and News Feeds. Algorithms used in these systems to pull all of the data together into an accurate picture of how users interact with each other. By using this information, the system gives advertisers more information than they would otherwise need to know about their audience.

Algorithms are not inherently evil. In fact, many of them are designed with the sole purpose of helping people make better decisions. But the unintended consequence of algorithms built to make complicated decision-making easier is a problem. When humans are left to navigate through these algorithms without the benefit of artificial intelligence, they can cause chaos.

Algorithmic technologies can also lead to unintended consequences when they eliminate or reduce the scope of human discretion. For example, if an airline company uses an algorithmic decision-making process that eliminates personal choice and allows for mass-tickets, it may reduce customer loyalty. A similar situation arises when an algorithmic program identifies the best automated route for a city and eliminates the option for people to choose their own transportation mode. In both situations, people are forced to make a decision based on a program that tells them what to do rather than choosing a different route on their own. Algorithmic technology can also reduce people’s faith in government, as it may make businesses less transparent and provide an element of conspiracy when elected officials are allowed to shape the outcome of algorithm-based decisions.

Unfortunately, algorithmic technology has been misused in other contexts. An infamous case was brought against a company that marketed an algorithmic trading program. The company’s sales campaign emphasized that users who used the program would make better decisions than those who did not. Because of this, the company subjected its customers to a battery of tests that, if passed, would allow the company to place its algorithmic trading platform into everyday use.

The company was eventually forced to admit that the underwriter had misconstrued the intent of the test and that, consequently, the system was actually violating anti-trust laws. Similarly, algorithmic technology can lead to poor decision making because of the constraints it places on designers. Machine learning systems typically rely on labeled examples in order to generate a generalisation about a complex problem, and because they rely on past performance to make predictions, they fail to take into account the messy nature of real world situations. In cases where designers lack the requisite skills or experience for making decisions based on real-world data, algorithmic technology makes it difficult to generate policy information that is accurate, complete, and unbiased. Thus, algorithms can lead to bad policy making, even when the intent behind the policy is perfectly understandable.

Search Engines

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of improving a website’s ranking in the search engines. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing all use different algorithms to rank websites. However, no one really can tell you what these factors are since search engine algorithms are such a closely guarded secret. Besides, it’s also important to keep in mind that your webpage can rank differently within each of the three major search engines. That is why it is imperative to understand how search engine algorithms work before you attempt to improve your website’s ranking with any technique or software.

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Matthew Giannelis

Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry.

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