Built by humans. Ruled by computers.

By | February 7, 2019
(Joseph Xu)

MiDAS, an algorithm-based administration and fraud collection system implemented by the state of Michigan, ran without human intervention between 2013 and 2015. During that time, it accused about 50,000 Michiganders of unemployment fraud. A 2017 review by the state found that more than 90 percent of those accusations were false.

A growing number of people have been harmed by an algorithm gone off the rails. As algorithmic decision-making becomes more powerful, some researchers have become increasingly concerned that it’s not living up to their vision. U-M has several initiatives underway to address these issues.

Some work to build a deeper understanding of the data that goes into algorithmic decision-making tools. Others aim to help technologists use algorithmic systems and other IT advances in a socially responsible way. And still others are working to defend the victims of algorithmic overreach.