Politically Incorrect Algorithms

More and more often one sees complaints such as this one from the Washington Post:

Fresh off the revelation that Google image searches for “CEO” only turn up pictures of white men, there’s new evidence that algorithmic bias is, alas, at it again. In a paper published in April, a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University claim Google displays far fewer ads for high-paying executive jobs…

… if you’re a woman.

“I think our findings suggest that there are parts of the ad ecosystem where kinds of discrimination are beginning to emerge and there is a lack of transparency,” Carnegie Mellon professor Annupam Datta told Technology Review. “This is concerning from a societal standpoint.”

The Washington Post attempts to explain:

The interesting thing about the fake users in the Ad Fisher study, however, is that they had entirely fresh search histories: In fact, the accounts used were more or less identical, except for their listed gender identity. That would seem to indicate either that advertisers are requesting that high-paying job ads only display to men (and that Google is honoring that request) or that some type of bias has been programmed, if inadvertently, into Google’s ad-personalization system.

Both of these are certainly possible in principle, and only Google can know for sure. But there is a much simpler explanation. It is possible that men simply click on this kind of ad more often than women do. If so, the ads will be shown to men more often. That is what the algorithm does, and what it is meant to do. It shows ads to the people who are most likely to click on them.

Modern liberalism has a dogma: “Men and women are equal.” This is to be understood literally. They are actually equal in every respect. There is no difference between them except that we happen to use different names, for no particular reason.

This dogma of course is evidently false, more obviously so than the dogmas of Scientology. Men and women are different. They have different properties. They differ on average in basically every respect, since the null hypothesis is always false. The more we use unbiased algorithms, the more the real world will come into conflict with the false dogma of liberalism, much as geology and biology constantly come into conflict with Young Earth Creationism.

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