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Data Points Podcast Episode 57 - Ethics and Algorithms

Algorithms are a growing part of decisions made in government programs. They  are used in issues ranging from the criminal justice system, to traffic lights, and many other public services in between. Yet, there are unintended consequences that can arise when algorithms have significant bias and decisions are made without careful review or human input.

GovEx and partners DataSF, part of the City and County of San Francisco, the Civic Analytics Network (Harvard University) and Data Community DC, created a first-of-its-kind Ethics and Algorithms Toolkit  to help local leaders ensure that decisions made based on algorithms are unbiased and deliver the best outcomes for residents. In this episode, we talk with Joy Bonaguro, former Chief Data Officer for the City and County of San Francisco, and Miriam McKinney, an analyst on the GovEx team, about the development of the toolkit. They describe the work to gather feedback from stakeholders, the iteration of work on the toolkit itself, and the ways that anyone can use the toolkit to help center their own work.

If you are interested in learning more about algorithms, check out a preview of the toolkit here. If you’re interested in working with the toolkit and need assistance, please contact us at

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