Hiring Fairly in the Age of Algorithms

33 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2021

See all articles by Max Langenkamp

Max Langenkamp

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Allan Costa

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Chris Cheung

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 12, 2019

Abstract

Widespread developments in automation have reduced the need for human input. However, despite the increased power of machine learning, in many contexts these programs make decisions that are problematic. Biases within data and opaque models have amplified human prejudices, giving rise to such tools as Amazon’s (now defunct) experimental hiring algorithm, which was found to consistently downgrade resumes when the word “women’s” was added before an activity.

This article critically surveys the existing legal and technological landscape surrounding algorithmic hiring. We argue that the negative impact of hiring algorithms can be mitigated by greater transparency from the employers to the public, which would enable civil advocate groups to hold employers accountable, as well as allow the U.S. Department of Justice to litigate. Our main contribution is a framework for automated hiring transparency, algorithmic transparency reports, which employers using automated hiring software would be required to publish by law. We also explain how existing regulations in employment and trade secret law can be extended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Congress to accommodate these reports.

Keywords: machine learning, fairness, transparency, hiring, algorithmic justice

Suggested Citation

Langenkamp, Max and Costa, Allan and Cheung, Chris, Hiring Fairly in the Age of Algorithms (December 12, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3723046 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3723046

Max Langenkamp (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Allan Costa

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Chris Cheung

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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