Computation in Society essay

The COMPAS risk assessment algorithm is biased and should no longer be used in criminal sentencing. For this weeks discussion prompt take a stance and… Write a PRO position statement (in support of the resolutions) ***RESOURCES TO USE*** Also please use the photo I included The controversy surrounding the COMPAS risk assessment algorithm came up several times in the Week 6 Content Module (cf Fry Brookings Institution Report Washington article). This weeks discussion asks you to weigh in on the question of whether the algorithm is biased and should continue to be used when determining criminal sentences. You encountered COMPAS in Hannah Frys “Justice” chapter though the story of Paul Zilly who in February 2013 was convicted in Baron County Wisconsin for stealing a lawnmower. Zilly agreed to a plea bargain but when he came to court he received a much harsher sentence. It turned out that the reason the judge made the change was because the COMPAS algorithm had rated Zilly “a high risk for future crime and a medium risk for general recidivism.” (Fry 63) Zillys case and the COMPAS algorithm became national news on May 23 2016 when a team of ProPublica journalists — Julia Angwin Jeff Larson Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner — published an investigative report “Machine Bias. Theres software used across the country to predict future criminals. And its biased against blacks. (Links to an external site.)” As noted on its website ProPublica (Links to an external site.) is an “independent nonprofit newsroom” founded in 2007-2008 “with the belief that investigative journalism is critical to our democracy.” The organization is staffed by more than 100 journalists working to achieve its mission: “To expose abuses of power and betrayals of the public trust by government business and other institutions using the moral force of investigative journalism to spur reform through the sustained spotlighting of wrongdoing.” (Links to an extWhen ProPublicas investigative team broke the story they published a companion piece explaining in technical detail how they determined that the COMPAS algorithm was delivering biased decisions: “How We Analyzed the COMPAS Recidivism Algorithm. (Links to an external site.)” Northpointe the company that developed the COMPAS algorithm mounted a heated defense against ProPublicas allegations. In its “Response to ProPublica: Demonstrating Accuracy Equity and Predictive Parity (Links to an external site.)” the company stated that it “unequivocally rejects the ProPublica conclusion of racial bias in the COMPAS risk scales.” (The full report is available here (Links to an external site.).) Zillys case ended up in the Supreme Court of Wisconsin which upheld the lower courts decision. The final reading in the Week 6 Content Module was Anna L. Washingtons article “How to Argue with an Algorithm: Lessons from the COMPAS-ProPublica DebateLinks to an external site..” Washington a data policy expert analyzed the legal and regulatory implications of the Zilly case. She also summarized the methodologies and subsequent positions that ProPublica and Northpointe articulated on the question of whether the COMPAS algorithm returned biased results. Requirements: 200- 300 words

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