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The agency of algorithms: Understanding human-algorithm interaction in administrative decision-making

The agency of algorithms: Understanding human-algorithm interaction in administrative... With the rise of computer algorithms in administrative decision-making, concerns are voiced about their lack of transparency and discretionary space for human decision-makers. However, calls to ‘keep humans in the loop’ may be moot points if we fail to understand how algorithms impact human decision-making and how algorithmic design impacts the practical possibilities for transparency and human discretion. Through a review of recent academic literature, three algorithmic design variables that determine the preconditions for human transparency and discretion and four main sources of variation in ‘human-algorithm interaction’ are identified. The article makes two contributions. First, the existing evidence is analysed and organized to demonstrate that, by working upon behavioural mechanisms of decision-making, the agency of algorithms extends beyond their computer code and can profoundly impact human behaviour and decision-making. Second, a research agenda for studying how computer algorithms affect administrative decision-making is proposed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information Polity IOS Press

The agency of algorithms: Understanding human-algorithm interaction in administrative decision-making

Information Polity , Volume 25 (4): 16 – Dec 4, 2020

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Publisher
IOS Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2020 © 2020 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved
ISSN
1570-1255
eISSN
1875-8754
DOI
10.3233/IP-200253
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

With the rise of computer algorithms in administrative decision-making, concerns are voiced about their lack of transparency and discretionary space for human decision-makers. However, calls to ‘keep humans in the loop’ may be moot points if we fail to understand how algorithms impact human decision-making and how algorithmic design impacts the practical possibilities for transparency and human discretion. Through a review of recent academic literature, three algorithmic design variables that determine the preconditions for human transparency and discretion and four main sources of variation in ‘human-algorithm interaction’ are identified. The article makes two contributions. First, the existing evidence is analysed and organized to demonstrate that, by working upon behavioural mechanisms of decision-making, the agency of algorithms extends beyond their computer code and can profoundly impact human behaviour and decision-making. Second, a research agenda for studying how computer algorithms affect administrative decision-making is proposed.

Journal

Information PolityIOS Press

Published: Dec 4, 2020

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