Algorithms—as basic as a recipe or as complex as the digital codes that create targeted ads in our social media feeds—are part of our daily lives. Anyone who uses social media such as Instagram or Facebook, search engines like Google, or almost any online platforms come into contact with algorithms regularly. These algorithms, which are often designed for good use, are not always neutral or objective in how they calculate, sort and present data. Algorithms can deepen the echo chamber by spreading fake information and can discriminate against people or perpetuate bias by constructing data sets based on perceived identities and stereotypes.
This lesson provides an opportunity for students to understand the role algorithms play in our everyday lives, explore how algorithmic bias functions in society and learn how to challenge it.