Companies and organizations have been increasingly using mathematical models to streamline important decisions, and these new decision-making processes have been largely unaudited. Indeed, they have been assumed to be fair and objective simply by dint of their mathematical nature.
We at ORCAA call this the “authority of the inscrutable.” It’s real. But it’s an undeserved authority that is being increasingly questioned. Lawsuits are being filed against the use of dubious algorithms like personality tests used for hiring as well as recidivism risk models used for sentencing, parole, and bail.
ORCAA’s mission is two-fold. First, it is to help companies and organizations that rely on time and cost-saving algorithms to get ahead of this wave, to understand and plan for their litigation and reputation risk, and most importantly to use algorithms fairly.
The second half of ORCAA’s mission is this: to develop rigorous methodology and tools, and to set rigorous standards for the new field of algorithmic auditing.
ORCAA is a consulting company that helps companies and organizations manage and audit their algorithmic risks.
There are emerging techniques to test algorithms as "black boxes," which is to say measure them for fairness, legal discrimination, and meaning. ORCAA will work with you to answer basic questions about your internal algorithms so you can be assured of their legal status as well as their underlying functionality.
Algorithms are often inscrutable. Are you putting your company at legal or reputational risk by deploying algorithms without understanding them sufficiently? Are they engendering feedback loops that you haven't considered or measured? ORCAA will help you evaluate your algorithmic risks.
Cathy has been an independent data science consultant since 2012 and has worked for clients including the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and Consumer Reports. She wrote the book Doing Data Science in 2013 and Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality And Threatens Democracy, released in September 2016.