MIS Quarterly Executive


Kirsten Martin


Algorithms drive critical decisions such as which patient is seen or who is offered insurance. Such algorithmic decisions, like all decisions, are biased and make mistakes. Yet, who is responsible for managing those mistakes? This article focuses on the responsibility of developers and users of algorithms to ensure algorithms support good decisions — including managing mistakes. First, while mistakes may be unintentional, ignoring or even fostering mistakes is unethical. Second, by creating inscrutable algorithms, which are difficult to understand or govern in use, developers may voluntarily take on accountability for the role of the algorithm in a decision.