Algorithmic Accountability

Algorithmic Accountability

Algorithmic Accountability Jonathan Poland

Algorithmic accountability is the concept of holding algorithms and the organizations that use them accountable for the decisions they make and the actions they take. This can be applied to algorithms, automated business rules and artificial intelligence. This accountability is important because algorithms are increasingly being used to make important decisions that affect people’s lives, such as decisions about credit, employment, and criminal justice.

Algorithmic accountability involves several key components. First, it requires that algorithms and the data they use be transparent and open to scrutiny. This means that the algorithms must be able to be understood and audited by outside parties, and that the data they use must be accessible and free from bias. Second, it requires that there be clear standards and regulations governing the use of algorithms, so that they are used in a fair and ethical manner. Finally, it requires that there be mechanisms in place to hold algorithms and the organizations that use them accountable when they make mistakes or take actions that harm people.

Overall, algorithmic accountability is an important concept in the age of increasingly sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence. It is critical for ensuring that algorithms are used in a fair, transparent, and accountable manner.

Magic Technology

The principle that it isn’t acceptable for management of a firm to view their own technologies as magic — whereby they understand its results but not its methods. For example, a credit card company that uses an artificial intelligence to reduce credit losses without understanding what the technology is doing to achieve this end.


The principle that the directors and governance bodies of a firm are accountable for the technologies employed by the firm. In other words, humans are accountable for technology such that technology can’t be blamed for failures or noncompliance.


The principle that the decisions and strategies created by a technology create a human readable audit trail that is communicated to stakeholders. For example, if a government algorithm denies a driver’s license to someone the reason for this denial would be communicated to the applicant in plain language.


The principle that technology can’t be used as an excuse or route to avoid compliance to the law. For example, a mobile app for hailing taxis that is compliant with local regulations in the markets in which it operates.

Learn More
What are End Goals? Jonathan Poland

What are End Goals?

End-goals, also known as long-term goals or ultimate goals, are the desired outcomes or results that an organization or individual…

Boss Archetypes Jonathan Poland

Boss Archetypes

A boss is a person who manages and oversees the work of an organization, department, or team. The term “boss”…

Risk Mitigation Jonathan Poland

Risk Mitigation

Risk mitigation is the process of identifying, analyzing, and taking steps to reduce or eliminate risks to an individual or…

Strategic Management Jonathan Poland

Strategic Management

Strategic management involves the formulation and implementation of the major goals and initiatives taken by a company’s top management on…

Demand Generation Jonathan Poland

Demand Generation

Demand generation is any marketing or sales activity designed to create recognition, awareness and interest in a firm’s brand and…

What are Power Structures? Jonathan Poland

What are Power Structures?

Power structures are the systems or frameworks that are used to exert control or influence over a government, organization, or…

Business Values Jonathan Poland

Business Values

Business values are statements that reflect the ethical principles of a company. These values are intended to guide the company’s…

Change Resistance Jonathan Poland

Change Resistance

Change resistance is the act of derailing, slowing down, or preventing a change that is underway. This can often cause…

Embedded System Jonathan Poland

Embedded System

An embedded system is a specialized computer designed to perform a specific task. It consists of both hardware and software…

Latest Thinking

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) Jonathan Poland

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS)

Qualified Small Business Stock (QSBS) refers to a special classification of stock in the United States that offers significant tax…

Barrick Gold Jonathan Poland

Barrick Gold

Barrick Gold Corporation (NYSE: GOLD) is a significant player in the global economy, particularly within the gold mining industry. Its…

Newmont Corporation Jonathan Poland

Newmont Corporation

Newmont Corporation (NYSE: NEM), being the world’s largest gold mining corporation, with extensive operations in mining and production of not…

Gold is Money Jonathan Poland

Gold is Money

Overview The history of gold as money spans thousands of years and has played a pivotal role in the economic…

What is Leadership? Jonathan Poland

What is Leadership?

In the modern business world, where rapid changes, technological advancements, and global challenges are the norm, effective leadership is more…

Product Durability Jonathan Poland

Product Durability

A durable product, often referred to as a durable good, is a product that does not quickly wear out or,…

Durable Competitive Advantage Jonathan Poland

Durable Competitive Advantage

The most important aspect of durability is market fit. Unique super simple products or services that does change much if…

Praxeology Jonathan Poland


Praxeology is the study of human action, particularly as it pertains to decision-making and the pursuit of goals. The term…

Business Models Jonathan Poland

Business Models

Business models define how a company creates, delivers, and captures value. There are numerous business models, each tailored to specific…