Sharad Goel discusses complexities of using algorithms in criminal justice system
In a recent Harvard Business Reviewarticle, MS&E Professor Sharad Goel argues that simple, statistically informed decision rules can dramatically improve judicial determinations.
But, he cautions, algorithms are not a complete fix.
“Algorithms are good at narrowly estimating risk, but they can’t set policy,” Goel says.
“They can’t tell you how many people to detain, or whether we should end money bail altogether, as some cities have done," he argues. "They can’t tell you how much to invest in pretrial services or what those services should be. And they can’t incorporate every factor in every case, so we still need humans to make the final decision.”