From robodebt to racism: what can go wrong when governments let algorithms make the decisions

Algorithmic decision-making has enormous potential to do good. From identifying priority areas for first response after an earthquake hits, to identifying those at risk of COVID-19 within minutes, their application has proven hugely beneficial.

But things can go drastically wrong when decisions are trusted to algorithms without ensuring they adhere to established ethical norms. Two recent examples illustrate how government agencies are failing to automate fairness.

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