Money Laundering for Bias

19 December 2020

It’s terrifying to choose an area of study for your PhD research – what if it turns out to be a dead end in a year? That thought is inescapable as I start (in earnest) studying the Linguistic Intergroup Bias.

At this critical juncture in my research (and life), I’m glad I found this talk by Maciej Ceglowski. It might seem overtly simplistic, but I appreciate its sentiment, and find it useful to keep in mind when studying bias from a computational perspective:

Instead of relying on algorithms, which we can be accused of manipulating for our benefit, we have turned to machine learning, an ingenious way of disclaiming responsibility for anything. Machine learning is like money laundering for bias. It’s a clean, mathematical apparatus that gives the status quo the aura of logical inevitability. The numbers don’t lie.