People may trust computers more than humans to perform some tasks, study says

Photo for representation purpose   | Photo Credit: AFP

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From choosing a song on a playlist to selecting the right size in online shopping, people are increasingly relying on algorithms to make everyday decisions. In fact, people may be willing to rely more on a computer programme than other humans, especially if a task is too challenging, according to a new study titled ‘Humans rely more on algorithms than social influence as a task becomes more difficult’ by the University of Georgia.

The study involved 1,500 individuals who evaluated photographs to understand how and when people work with algorithms to process information and make decisions. The volunteers were asked to count the number of people in a crowd, captured in a photograph, and were supplied suggestions generated by a group of people and by an algorithm.

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As the number of people in the photograph expanded, and counting became difficult, people more likely followed the algorithm-generated suggestion than count themselves or follow the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, according to Aaron Schecter, one of the authors of the study.

It is also important to understand that algorithms may be subject to bias, Schecter added. But, the problem with using artificial intelligence (AI) in other areas like awarding credit score and approving loans - although people feel it is an easy job for an algorithm to evaluate numbers -- the dependence leads to discriminatory practices in many cases because social factors are ignored.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 4:00:57 AM |

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