What does it mean to ask for an “explainable” algorithm?

It’s often said that decisions generated by algorithms are inexplicable or lack transparency. This post asks what that challenge really means, and argues that there is nothing distinctive about decisions made by algorithms which makes them intrinsically less explicable than decisions made by human brains. Of the four meanings Felten considers, the argument from complexity seems the most prevalent and relevant – and where his counter argument is weakest. But this is an important and useful way of clarifying and exploring the problem.

Ed Felten – Freedom to Tinker

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