Bias

How to root out bias in your data (requires registration to read the whole article): if only it were that easy.

One paragraph: “Just ask city officials in Boston. As part of an effort to shore up the municipality’s aging infrastructure, city hall released a smartphone app that collects GPS data to help detect potholes. However, because people in lower income groups are less likely to own smartphones, the program didn’t include data from large segments of city neighborhoods.”

Oops! How would you have caught this?

In another area: I have been the victim of bias in employment interviews. When my face is relaxed, the corners of lips are lower than the center of my lips. So when I am relaxed, it looks to many people as if I am frowning. Add to that my red cheeks, and some people have concluded that I am a bomb waiting to go off. No, it is only hypertension. (I was wondering why I was getting such odd feedback in the co-op program from my job interviews.)

I am not perfect at this either. Shortly after I finally realised about my facial issue, one day, I was in a grocery store, saw someone apparently frowning, thought he might be having a bad time, and then, it hit me that I was doing the same thing. I looked again and could see no evidence of a bad mood. The person was doing his job quite professionally.

The bias that is most difficult to get rid of is one that you do not think is a bias.