In 2015, a worried father asked Rhema Vaithianathan a question that still weighs on her mind. A small crowd had gathered in a basement room in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to hear her explain how software might tackle child abuse. Each day, the area’s hotline receives dozens of calls from people who suspect that a child is in danger; some of these are then flagged by call-centre staff for investigation. But the system does not catch all cases of abuse. Vaithianathan and her colleagues had just won a half-million-dollar contract to build an algorithm to help.
Vaithianathan, a health economist who co-directs the Centre for Social Data Analytics at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, told the crowd how the algorithm might work. For example, a tool trained on reams of data — including family backgrounds and criminal records — could generate risk scores when calls come in. That could help call screeners to flag which families to investigate.
Continua a leggere su Nature: Bias detectives: the researchers striving to make algorithms fair