“I agree with the decision, but they didn’t deserve this”: Future Developers’ Perception of Fairness – FAccT 2021- Kasinidou, Kleanthous, Barlas, Otterbacher

While professionals are increasingly relying on algorithmic systems for making a decision, on some occasions, algorithmic decisions may be perceived as biased or not just. Prior work has looked into the perception of algorithmic decision-making from the user’s point of view. In this work, we investigate how students in fields adjacent to algorithm development perceive algorithmic decisionmaking. Participants (N=99) were asked to rate their agreement with statements regarding six constructs that are related to facets of fairness and justice in algorithmic decision-making in three separate scenarios. Two of the three scenarios were independent of each other, while the third scenario presented three different outcomes of the same algorithmic system, demonstrating perception changes triggered by different outputs. Quantitative analysis indicates that 𝑎) ‘agreeing’ with a decision does not mean the person ‘deserves the outcome’, 𝑏) perceiving the factors used in the decision-making as ‘appropriate’ does not make the decision of the system ‘fair’ and 𝑐) perceiving a system’s decision as ‘not fair’ is affecting the participants’ ‘trust’ in the system. In addition, participants found proportional distribution of benefits more fair than other approaches. Qualitative analysis provides further insights into that information the participants find essential to judge and understand an algorithmic decision-making system’s fairness. Finally, the level of academic education has a role to play in the perception of fairness and justice in algorithmic decision-making.

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