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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Crowd Sourcing vs Algorithm

We actively used Mechanical Turk, so the comparison is interesting, but depends much on the details of the set up involved.

Mechanical Turkers may have out-predicted the most popular crime-predicting algorithm   The Verge by Russell Brandom

Our most sophisticated crime-predicting algorithms may not be as good as we thought. A study published today in Science Advances takes a look at the popular COMPAS algorithm — used to assess the likelihood that a given defendant will reoffend — and finds the algorithm is no more accurate than the average person’s guess. If the findings hold, they would be a black eye for sentencing algorithms in general, indicating we may simply not have the tools to accurately predict whether a defendant will commit further crimes.

Developed by Equivant (formerly Northpointe), the COMPAS algorithm examines a defendant’s criminal record alongside a series of other factors to assess how likely they are to be arrested again in the next two years. COMPAS’ risk assessment can then inform a judge’s decisions about bail or even sentencing. If the algorithm is inaccurate, the result could be a longer sentence for an otherwise low-risk defendant, a significant harm for anyone impacted.

Reached by The Verge, Equivant contested the accuracy of the paper in a lengthy statement, calling the work “highly misleading.”  .... "

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