David Siegel writes, “Growing up in the science fiction-infused 1960s and ’70s, nothing excited me more than computers’ potential to do things that humans could and to improve the world. Today, they help aircraft to stay aloft, doctors to treat patients and investors to manage portfolios, all the while relieving humans of stressful tasks.
For many, though, mystery still shrouds how computers and the algorithms running on them work — and why understanding them even matters.
Algorithms sometimes get a bad name. They are imagined as autonomous “black boxes” with no commonsense or reason driving them. Their inscrutability has led to an unfair double standard: despite our flaws, humans enjoy a baseline of trust, while algorithms, seen as detached from human-style reasoning, are deemed inherently less trustworthy.”