Algorithms, Crime and Punishment

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A drive-by shooting in the US midwest has raised questions about how algorithms are being used in the country's criminal justice system. A defendant in the case was jailed after an algorithm used by the court calculated that he was at high risk of reoffending. The risk assessment algorithm is supposed to make decisions less subjective, but one recent analysis found that the algorithm was biased against black people. In Iran, social media users found novel ways to support the national football team when a match fell on a day of public mourning and the country’s religious leaders banned cheering and said only religious chanting would be tolerated. Also, how US prison inmates are arranging a nationwide prison strike from their cells, using banned social media. And why do we write farewell letters? Whether it's messages from the living to the dying or from the dying to the living, how can we find the words to say goodbye? (Photo: A guard walking down a cell block. Credit: Getty Images)

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