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Frank Pasquale unravels the new machine age of algorithms and bots

In his book "The Black Box Society," Pasquale exposes secret algorithms behind the scenes of corporate America.

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This is an excerpt of a story from Passcode, the Monitor's new section on security and privacy. Read the full article here.

Slate recently said Frank Pasquale's new book, "The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information," attempts to "come to grips with the dangers of 'runaway data' and 'black box algorithms' more comprehensively than any other book to date.' 

I recently spoke with Pasquale about his new book and about how algorithms play a major role in our everyday lives — from what we see and don't see on the Web, to how companies and banks classify consumers, to influencing the risky deals made by investors. Edited excerpts follow.

Selinger: What's a black box society?    

Pasquale: The term ‘black box’ can refer to a recording device, like the data-monitoring systems in planes, trains, and cars. Or it can mean a system whose workings are mysterious. We can observe its inputs and outputs, but can’t tell how one becomes the other. Every day, we confront these two meanings. We’re tracked ever more closely by firms and the government. We often don’t have a clear idea of just how far this information can travel, how it’s used, or its consequences.

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