Nav: Home

Commercial software no more accurate than untrained people in predicting recidivism

January 17, 2018

A new study suggests that a commercial software widely used to predict which criminals will commit crimes again is no more accurate than untrained people, at foreseeing recidivism. Previous research has suggested that the criminal risk assessment tool, Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, or COMPAS, which incorporates 137 distinct features to predict recidivism, appears to favor white defendants over black defendants, underpredicting recidivism for the former group. While the debate over COMPAS's algorithmic fairness continues, Julia Dressel and Hany Farid sought to explore a more fundamental question: whether algorithms like the one used in COMPAS are any better than untrained humans at predicting recidivism. They conducted an online survey among people of varying ages and education levels. Participants, presumably none of them criminal justice experts, saw a description of a defendant that did not include their race. With considerably less information than COMPAS (only 7 features compared to COMPAS's 137), these individuals predicted whether each defendant would recidivate within two years of their most recent crime. The researchers report that the human predictions were approximately as accurate as COMPAS's -- rightly predicting the likelihood of a defendant to recidivate in roughly 65% of cases. False positives (when a defendant was predicted to recidivate but did not) were similar between COMPAS and humans, and were equally unfair to black defendants, the authors say.

Notably, in work to understand how sophisticated the COMPAS algorithm is, Farid and Dressel ultimately found that a simpler classifier based on only 2 features -- age and total number of previous convictions -- is all that is required to yield the same prediction accuracy as COMPAS.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Accurate Articles:

New method of measurement could lead to cheaper, more accurate sensors
New method of measurement could lead to cheaper, more accurate sensors.
Better than BMI: Study finds more accurate way to determine adolescent obesity
Researchers have found a new, more accurate way to determine if adolescents are overweight, important findings considering many school districts label adolescents -- who tend to be more vulnerable to weight bias and fat shaming than adults -- as obese.
DNA misspelling correction method is very accurate
IBS scientists prove that a gene editing technique used for substituting a single nucleotide in the genome is highly accurate.
Quicker and twice as accurate predictions
With ever-increasing amounts of online information available, modelling and predicting individual preferences for certain products is becoming more and more important.
A more accurate sensor for lead paint
A new molecular gel recipe developed at the University of Michigan is at the core of a prototype for a more accurate lead paint test.
Boys more accurate at spotting offside, but not because they understand it better
Boys and girls are equally capable of understanding the offside rule in football, but it is boys' everyday experience of the game that makes them better at identifying players in offside positions, recent research from London Metropolitan University has found.
More accurate prostate cancer prognosis
Men diagnosed with prostate cancer can be provided with a more accurate estimate of their risk of death from the disease, and treatment planned accordingly, according to a Research Article published by Vincent J.
New method to estimate more accurate distances between planetary nebulae and the Earth
A way of estimating more accurate distances to the thousands of so-called 'planetary nebulae' dispersed across our Galaxy has just been announced by a team of three astronomers based at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).
A more accurate understanding of the gorilla genome
Using recent advances in genetic sequencing technology, researchers have significantly improved upon previous assemblies of the gorilla genome.
The most accurate optical single-ion clock worldwide
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far.

Related Accurate Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".