The Echo Chamber of Algorithm Bias
Joseph O. Chan, Ph.D.

Cognitive bias has affected many aspects of society, many have grave consequences. They include recent incidents about police shooting of minority, the rise of Asian crimes, quota against admission of Asian students by elite institutions, employment discrimination, exclusive immigration policies, discriminatory voting rights and more. These actions can be attributed to the manifestation of cognitive biases. The emergence of machine learning, a branch of artificial intelligence, attempts to automate the human process of learning and decision making. The human experience is programmed from datasets into algorithms that assists in decision making. The unfortunate side effect is that the human experiences resulting from cognitive bias are also programmed into the algorithms. Social media through the echo chamber, exacerbates the propagation of misinformation. It contributes to the perfect storm by adding the oxygen and fuel to the expansion and spread of bias. This paper examines cognitive bias in the age of machine learning and social media. It describes the life cycle for the proliferation of algorithmic bias through the echo chamber, and devises mitigation strategies during the different stages from initiation to consumption of bias.

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