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White House Report Examines Big Data Approaches to Foster Equal Opportunity, Fairness

big dataThe White House has published a report that describes how organizations should use big data and algorithmic systems to detect human bias and avoid discrimination.

According to a White House blog entry posted Wednesday, the report also seeks to illustrate how the use of big data to expand opportunity may also introduce inadvertent bias through case studies on credit lending, higher education, criminal justice and employment.

Cecilia Munoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, produced the report with U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil.

“The purpose of the report is not to offer remedies to the issues it raises, but rather to identify these issues and prompt conversation, research — and action — among technologists, academics, policy makers and citizens,” Munoz, Smith and Patil noted.

They recommend that government agencies and companies invest in research, technical leadership, cross-training and literacy programs that will focus on addressing data discrimination and accountability issues.

Munoz, Smith and Patil also urged computer and data science professionals to help promote ethical use of data to foster equal opportunity and fairness.

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