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Who holds the algorithms accountable?

Who holds the algorithms accountable?


We are evaluating a new technological wonder, a soon to be indispensable part of this client’s martech stack. A proprietary algorithm that will power the growth of the company.

It reminds me of a story about how the machines are building their own algorithms and that gets me wondering. Who will hold the algorithm accountable?

When I first went into sales, my sales manager would tell me that when you sell, you’re completely accountable. Not like those fancies in marketing. They’re like the chicken at breakfast, they participate. Sales is like the pig, fully committed. If you want to hide, he’d chide, get into marketing.

Over time I’ve seen that view of marketing change. The more we’re able to track and measure, the more accountability has expanded from sales into the marketing department.

Now I’m presented with a black box making promises, just like the sales person promising new accounts, just like the marketing manager promising more leads.

I wonder if my old manager would think that data science the new place to hide?