Summary of Machine Intelligence Makes Human Morals More Important

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Machine learning may seem like a perfect objective solution to subjective problems, but it’s not infallible. Techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci warns that auditing these highly complex systems is crucial to understanding how they arrive at decisions. Advanced algorithms calculate probabilities from analyzing huge amounts of data, but the process lacks the moral reasoning only humans can provide. getAbstract appreciates Tufekci’s heads-up as computers continue to assume much of society’s decision making.

About the Speaker

Zeynep Tufekci, an associate professor at the University of North Carolina, is the author of Twitter and Tear Gas.



Elaborate algorithms have improved computers’ abilities to perform human functions, such as recognizing human emotions and identifying liars. Thus, organizations increasingly use machine intelligence not only to compute but to make subjective decisions. But employing computers to solve such problems introduces myriad ethical dilemmas. The “anchors and benchmarks” for reaching decisions that require value-based judgment calls don’t exist. Moreover, the complexity of highly-developed software makes computer processes opaque.

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