Sharla Alegria and Catherine Yeh discuss co-authored article on Contexts podcast

December 1, 2023 by Juanita Lam

In the most recent episode of the ASA’s Contexts podcast, Professor Sharla Alegria and PhD candidate Catherine Yeh discuss their co-authored article “Machine Learning and the Reproduction of Inequality”, published in the Fall 2023 volume of Contexts. In the article, the authors examine how artificial intelligence, and machine learning specifically, replicates social biases based on race, gender, and other inequalities. Alegria and Yeh argue that, because artificial intelligence learns through existing data on the internet – like websites, Wikipedia pages, and books – it ultimately replicates the biases present in this material. However, data bias is not the only mechanism encoding inequality in machine learning: the authors point to spuriousness and misalignment, optimization, and the targeting of vulnerable groups as additional sources of bias.

Read Alegria and Yeh’s full article open-access in Contexts.