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Overcoming the pitfalls and perils of algorithms: A classification of machine learning biases and mitigation methods

Zeitschriftentitel: Journal of Business Research, 2022



Over the last decade, the importance of machine learning increased dramatically in business and marketing. However, when machine learning is used for decision-making, bias rooted in unrepresentative datasets, inadequate models, weak algorithm designs, or human stereotypes can lead to low performance and unfair decisions, resulting in financial, social, and reputational losses. This paper offers a systematic, interdisciplinary literature review of machine learning biases as well as methods to avoid and mitigate these biases. We identified eight distinct machine learning biases, summarized these biases in the cross-industry standard process for data mining to account for all phases of machine learning projects, and outline twenty-four mitigation methods. We further contextualize these biases in a real-world case study and illustrate adequate mitigation strategies. These insights synthesize the literature on machine learning biases in a concise manner and point to the importance of human judgment for machine learning algorithms.

Benjamin van Giffen, Dennis Herhausen, Tobias Fahse


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