What is Algorithmic Bias and Why Antitrust Agencies Should Care?

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Before asking whether algorithmic bias is a competition concern, we might need to understand what bias is and how it is exhibited in algorithms. Bias in people is well known and likely inevitable, raising the question of what we can do if algorithms learn to be bias. Artificial intelligence (“AI”) algorithms are those that can raise issues of bias as they learn from past data, and we might have to deal with historical bias situations or unrepresentative or insufficient data. AI algorithms are built by software developers, who can also be biased. Companies are increasingly using AI algorithms to compete more effectively. It is fundamental that antitrust agencies tackle anticompetitive practices performed by means of algorithms, which might imply algorithmic bias. Bias is a broad term and exclusive practices are likely to increase bias in consumers. Therefore, antitrust agencies can be critical in addressing issues related to algorithmic bias. However, a more important question remains unresolved if we cannot explain why and how an AI algorithm is biased in the first place.


Artificial intelligence, AI, algorithmic bias, antitrust, competition, historical bias, algorithm

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Competition Policy International