Opinion | Algorithms Make Fewer Mistakes Than Humans. Why Don’t We Trust Them?

Produced by ‘Sway’

Judicial sentences, medical diagnoses, insurance quotes: These are judgment calls humans make every day, imperfectly.

The issue is “noise,” says Nobel laureate and author Daniel Kahneman. Noise is Kahneman’s term for the natural variability humans bring to decision making and the subject of his new book, which he wrote with Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein. Noise is a reality of human diversity. But it can be unwanted, too — especially when it compromises the fairness of a system, leaving high-stakes decisions to human whims.

In this conversation, Kara Swisher talks to Kahneman about how companies and individuals can reduce noise, how systems can become more fair and whether we would all be better off if we let some of these decisions be made by machines.

Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Transcripts of each episode are available midday.

“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong and Daphne Chen, and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez. Special thanks to Matt Frassica, Shannon Busta, Kristin Lin and Liriel Higa.

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