Algorithms increasingly shape modern life, helping Wall Street to decide stock trades, Netflix to recommend movies and judges to dispense justice. But critics say algorithms — the seemingly inscrutable computational tools that help give artificial intelligence (AI) the ability to “think” and “learn” — can lead to skewed results and sometimes social harm. AI might help mortgage companies decide whom to lend to, but qualified borrowers can be rejected if the underlying algorithms are faulty. Companies might use AI to screen job applicants, but skilled talent can be turned away if the algorithms reflect racial or gender bias. Moreover, the use of algorithms is raising difficult questions about who — if anyone — is liable when AI results in injury. The technology is even stirring ...

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