George Washington University researchers found apparent racial bias in pricing algorithms used by ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft.
GW's Aylin Caliskan and Akshat Pandey analyzed transport and census data in Chicago and found that the firms charge higher fares if a pick-up point or destination is in a neighborhood with a greater ethnic minority population than for those with predominantly white residents.
The researchers compared trip data from ride-hailing apps to information from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Although rider ethnicity is excluded from the trip data, fare prices per mile were higher overall if the pick-up or drop-off location was in a neighborhood with fewer white residents, a lower median house price, or lower average educational level.
Os Keyes at the University of Washington in Seattle said, "This should cause us to further question studies of 'fairness' and 'bias' in algorithms which promise to end algorithmic racism by simply not mentioning race."
From New Scientist
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