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Patricia Garcia wants you to understand how algorithms affect your life

Featured by Michigan Public. Assistant Professor Patricia Garcia. How are algorithms impacting our lives?

Thursday, 04/18/2024

University of Michigan School of Information assistant professor Patricia Garcia was featured on the Michigan Public “Stateside” program. 

Garcia, an expert on the complex relationship between race, gender, technology and justice, spoke with “Stateside” host April Baer about her work to demystify what algorithms are and to help people understand how even “low-tech” algorithms can affect their lives.  

As an example, Patricia described how these algorithms can affect the lives of vulnerable people seeking social services. 

“When we first started introducing algorithms in a social service setting, it was for a good reason. It was because the state and local governments were trying to make the process of helping people more efficient and less biased. And ideally, it would produce fair results more efficiently,” Garcia says. “But what we found is that implementing algorithms actually takes the professional expertise of social workers out of the equation, and that expertise is very important.” 

Moving forward, Garcia says we need to think more about the relationship between human-algorithmic decision making and consider implementing algorithms as tools rather than sole decision makers. 

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Listen to the full interview with Patricia Garcia on the April 15 episode of Michigan Public’s “Stateside” program.

Patricia Garcia is an assistant professor of information at UMSI and an assistant professor of Digital Studies Institute at the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Learn more about her research and work by visiting her UMSI faculty profile

 

— Noor Hindi, UMSI public relations specialist