Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty 

Monday, December 29th, 2014

I had a pretty goddamned shitty 2014. So when Facebook offered a “Year in Review”, I was entirely uninterested. Eric Meyer, who lost his daughter this year, fared even worse. Facebook automatically showed him a picture of his deceased daughter, and told him “Here’s what 2014 looked like for you”. It was both correct, and incredibly cruel. We wouldn’t accept this behavior from a human, and we shouldn’t accept it from a machine programmed by a human either.

As Jeffrey Zeldman noted, unexamined privilege is a part of the problem. This feature was made by “a group to whom nothing terrible has happened yet”.


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