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Marlies van Eck: be conscious of discrimination in algorithms

Every day we make use of devices, services and apps which contain algorithms that could be discriminating. These range from Facebook to self-driving cars, from the Tax Authorities to a rotating door.

Marlies van Eck

Artificial intelligence is here to stay. It concerns us all, and so it should be explained to us in clear language, according to Assistant Professor Marlies van Eck in an interview in FunX (in Dutch). 

'Take a microphone transmitter for example', Van Eck says. 'It has a clip that you attach to a belt. But I often wear dresses or skirts so there is nothing I can attach the transmitter to’. This type of equipment has been designed by people who haven’t thought that women might sometimes wear a dress or a skirt instead of trousers. Or take cash machines that have been installed at arm’s height for people who are standing. If you’re in a wheelchair, you can’t reach the machine.

These types of errors can also end up in algorithms. Van Eck believes it is important to be conscious of this. 

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