The Society of Algorithms, a brief reflection

The Society of Algorithms, a brief reflection

Watching the series “The Black Mirror”, I thought about how algorithms, although it is true, have helped us to advance in enormous tasks and with great efficiency, they also have their dark sides and today they are present practically every day in our lives. It is very common to hear opinions for and against algorithms. Be aware that everything we do and see on the web is the product of algorithms. The success of Google, Amazon, YouTube or Netflix is ​​the result of algorithms.

The definition of the Royal Spanish Academy tells us that algorithm is: “Ordered and finite set of operations that allows finding the solution of a problem”.

For computer science, an algorithm is any well-defined computational procedure in an initial state and an input value or set of values, to which a sequence of finite computational steps is applied, producing an output or solution, that is, a set of instructions to achieve an end.

Augusta Ada Byron (Ada Lovelace) creates what is considered the first algorithm designed to be executed by a machine. Lovelace, laying the groundwork for future programming languages ​​(functional programming).

Let us reflect on the fact that today companies use these algorithms to hire personnel, and that in my personal point of view
view, it is very poorly managed, there is no algorithm that up to now knows how to give the importance it deserves to a person who accumulates experience, in exchange for youth, or who has a proactive and entrepreneurial attitude in exchange for knowledge, or a person that has multiple talents and not just one, HR algorithms, are discriminatory, random and very limited. In the US, figures tell us that 70% of job applications are screened before being analyzed by humans. There are already scandals of some applications of this type that are racist and have gender problems. In the Harvard Business Review, academics Gideon Mann and Cathy O’Neil argue that these programs are not devoid of human biases and prejudices, which could make artificial intelligence not really objective.

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Speaking of health, there is an algorithm dedicated to preventing heart attacks, it was developed using the medical information of thousands of patients, it can detect any episodes up to six hours before they occur, and it alerts doctors and nurses to prevent them. The creators of the WAVE platform believe that many of the more than 250,000 people who die from this cause each year – according to Johns Hopkins – could avoid death.

Algorithms have transformed commerce -from bookstores to
supermarkets – predicting and controlling
electronic systems efficiently, and managing most financial transactions.

Some of the great problems that they are causing in the world are the disturbance of the financial markets, as in October 2016 when the British currency fell uncontrollably against the dollar -up to 6.1%- in the Asian markets. It was the biggest decline in the currency since the Brexit vote (the UK’s exit from the European Union), when it sank 11%, and the plunge was due, in part, to computerized trading powered by algorithms, experts say. specialists of Pew Research Center.

It should not be believed that algorithms can do everything, there are functions and actions that only the human mind can achieve perfectly, or with a minimum degree of error.