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When Internet algorithms discriminate




In between Delvon Brown's part-time job delivering drinking water, he searches the Internet for full-time driving jobs.
In between Delvon Brown's part-time job delivering drinking water, he searches the Internet for full-time driving jobs.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

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It’s no secret that browsers and search engines are watching what we do on the web. As Internet users peruse the web, complex mathematical equations called algorithms use a series of criteria to decide which ads or websites are most pertinent to that person's interests.

Because browsing habits are tracked so regularly, computers — over time — begin to gain a greater understanding of the person at the keyboard. Algorithms can accurately guess income, education level, geographic location, family size and interests.

But what happens when the technology that we depend on begins to profile us? That’s the question Claire Cain Miller tackles in her recent New York Times article, “When Algorithms Discriminate.”

Press the play button above to hear more about the algorithms that control our Internet experience.