NTENT Chief Technology Officer Dr. Ricardo Baeza-Yates Discusses Bias and the Web for Communications of the ACM (CACM)

In an interview with ACM, Dr. Ricardo Baeza-Yates discusses the escalating problem of bias within web data.

An article written by NTENT Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Ricardo Baeza-Yates titled “Bias and the Web” appears in the June 2018 issue of Communications of the ACM (CACM), the premier digital and print publication from the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). The article addresses the escalating problem of bias found within web data, and how the internal biases of web users are reflected and manifested in the digital content they consume.

“This article aims to increase awareness of the potential affects posed on humanity through bias present in Web usage and content,” writes Dr. Baeza-Yates. “We must consider and account for this crucial component in the design of Web-systems that truly address the needs of people.”

In a video interview with ACM accompanying the article, Dr. Baeza-Yates discusses how the bias cycle begins with data bias ranging in flavor from geographic to economic, gender and language bias. That data is then sampled in various web applications leading to sampling and algorithmic bias delivered to users through results, followed by activity bias prompted by the choices users make. More subtle forms of bias occur in the form of activity bias, where the majority of web activity is done by a few select people, and through presentation bias, which only shows a fraction of results available from a much larger pool, limiting the amount of results users see. According to Dr. Baeza-Yates, the solution to the web bias problem starts with awareness that it exists. Only then, can procedures be factored into future designs that counteract any negative impact.

For 50 years, Communications of the ACM has committed itself to high-quality, editorial content aimed to advance the arts, sciences and applications of information technology. With a readership of more than 100,000 ACM members that span the globe, CACM serves as a trusted and erudite source of industry information for today’s computing professional.

Click here to read Dr. Ricardo Baeza-Yates’ full article and watch his video interview.