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Are computers turning into bigots?

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Daily Mail
January 25, 2018

Recently, my application for insurance for a classic car I’d bought was refused. It was a first for me and when I inquired why, I was told that the insurance company was concerned that I associate with ‘high-value individuals’.

I don’t, but even if I did, how could this possibly impact my access to insurance? The broker kindly investigated on my behalf and discovered that a robot — or more accurately an ‘automated decision-making machine’ — used by the insurance company had scoured the internet and discovered that in the distant past I’d been the motoring editor of a national newspaper.

I was no wiser as to why this might suddenly have made me a liability. ‘You might give Jeremy Clarkson a lift, have an accident in which he would be injured, and it could cost millions,’ my broker explained. It was an utterly bizarre line of reasoning. I’m no friend of Clarkson, I complained. To no avail.

The robot knew better, its logic deciding that my time as a motoring editor obviously connected me to Jeremy Clarkson, the multi-millionaire former presenter of Top Gear and the nation’s best known petrolhead who writes newspaper columns and whose name is all over the internet.

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This article was posted: Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 8:55 am

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