Blind reverence for science obscures real problems

When Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently pointed out that algorithms can be racist, she drew criticism from Mr Ryan Saavedra, a writer for conservative website The Daily Wire.

Mr Saavedra mocked her, arguing that she was suggesting maths, which drives algorithmic calculations, is racist. In practice, algorithms absolutely can produce racist outcomes, regardless of the maths that empowers them. And yet, as this example shows, it's all too easy to assume the truth and authority of something dressed up in the clothing of scientific objectivity.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2019, with the headline 'Blind reverence for science obscures real problems'. Print Edition | Subscribe