Tech Backlash: Not Even Apple and Goldman Sachs Exempt

November 11, 2019

Times are indeed interesting. Two powerful outfits—Apple (the privacy outfit with a thing for Chinese food) and Goldman Sachs (the we-make-money-every way possible organization) are the subject of “Viral Tweet about Apple Card Leads to Goldman Sachs Probe.” The would-be president’s news machine stated, “Tech entrepreneur alleged inherent bias in algorithms for card.” The card, of course, is the Apple-Goldman revenue-generating credit card. Navigate to the Bloomberg story. Get the scoop.

On the other hand, just look at one of the dozens and dozens of bloggers commenting about this bias, algorithm, big name story. Even more intriguing is that the aggrieved tweeter’s wife had her credit score magically changed. Remarkable how smart algorithms work.

DarkCyber does not want to retread truck tires. We do have three observations:

  1. The algorithm part may be more important than the bias angle. The reason is that algorithms embody bias, and now non-technical and non-financial people are going to start asking questions: Superficial at first and then increasingly on point. Not good for algorithms when humans obviously can fiddle the outputs.
  2. Two usually untouchable companies are now in the spotlight for subjective, touchy feely things with which neither company is particularly associated. This may lead to some interesting information about what’s up in the clubby world of the richest companies in the world. Discrimination maybe? Carelessness? Indifference? Greed? We have to wait and listen.
  3. Even those who may have worked at these firms and who now may be in positions of considerable influence may find themselves between a squash wall and sweaty guests who aren’t happy about an intentional obstruction. Those corporate halls which are often tomb-quiet may resound with stressed voices. “Apple” carts which allegedly sell to anyone may be upset. Cleaning up after the spill may drag the double’s partners from two exclusive companies into a task similar to cleaning sea birds after the gulf oil spill.

Will this issue get news traction? Will it become a lawyer powered railroad handcar creeping down the line?

Fascinating stuff.

Stephen E Arnold, November 11, 2019

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