We Should Test AI the Way the FDA Tests Medicines
Artificial intelligence is a predictive technology. They assess, for example, whether a car is likely to hit an object, whether a supermarket is likely to need more apples this week, and whether a person is likely to pay back a loan, be a good employee, or commit a further offense.
Too many times we learn that algorithms are defective once they have destroyed lives, as when an algorithm implemented by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency falsely accused 34,000 unemployed people of fraud.
One solution is to subject predictive algorithms to randomized controlled trials. The only way to know if, say, an algorithm that assesses job candidates is truly accurate, is to divide prospective employees into an experimental group (which is subjected to the algorithm) and a control group (which is assessed by human beings).