What Is Algorithmic Bias and Why Antitrust Agencies Should Care

CPI Antitrust Chronicle, June 2023

U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 23-39

9 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2023

See all articles by Giovanna Massarotto

Giovanna Massarotto

Center for Technology Innovation and Competition (CTIC), University of Pennsylvania; UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies (UCL CBT)

Date Written: June 22, 2023

Abstract

Before asking whether algorithmic bias is a competition concern, we might need to understand what bias is and how it is exhibited in algorithms. Bias in people is well known and likely inevitable, raising the question of what we can do if algorithms learn to be bias. Artificial intelligence (“AI”) algorithms are those that can raise issues of bias as they learn from past data, and we might have to deal with historical bias situations or unrepresentative or insufficient data. AI algorithms are built by software developers, who can also be biased. Companies are increasingly using AI algorithms to compete more effectively. It is fundamental that antitrust agencies tackle anticompetitive practices performed by means of algorithms, which might imply algorithmic bias. Bias is a broad term and exclusive practices are likely to increase bias in consumers. Therefore, antitrust agencies can be critical in addressing issues related to algorithmic bias. However, a more important question remains unresolved if we cannot explain why and how an AI algorithm is biased in the first place.

Keywords: algorithmic bias, AI algorithms, antitrust agencies, anticompetitive practices, artificial intelligence, competition principles, markets

JEL Classification: K21, L40, L50

Suggested Citation

Massarotto, Giovanna, What Is Algorithmic Bias and Why Antitrust Agencies Should Care (June 22, 2023). CPI Antitrust Chronicle, June 2023, U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 23-39, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4625894

Giovanna Massarotto (Contact Author)

Center for Technology Innovation and Competition (CTIC), University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies (UCL CBT) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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