Bias Mitigation


Mitigating bias involves more than just understanding and being aware of its presence; it requires meaningful and targeted actions to effectively reduce its impact. Here are some approaches and insights from Jordan Harbinger's conversations with experts on bias mitigation:

  1. Environmental Influence:

    • Biases can be amplified or reduced by our environment. Knowing what triggers biases allows for more control and mitigation. For example, the Oakland Police Department managed to reduce unnecessary stops by integrating specific questions into their protocols, which made officers think twice before acting based on bias. This adjustment led to a significant reduction in stops without an increase in crime rates 1.
  2. Relationships and Personal Connections:

    • Strong personal relationships with people from diverse backgrounds can help mitigate biases. These connections can replace negative biases with more positive interactions and understandings. It’s about seeing individuals as exceptions to generalizations and stereotypes 2.
  3. Empathy Development:

    • Developing empathy is crucial for counteracting biases. Unlike sympathy, empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings of others. This approach helps in seeing others as worthy human beings, which significantly reduces biased perceptions and improves communication 3.

      Mitigating Bias

      Jennifer explains that our environment can either increase or decrease bias, and shares an example of how the Oakland Police Department was able to reduce the number of stops made by officers of people who weren't committing any serious crimes by adding a simple question to the form that officers complete when they're engaging in a stop.

      The Jordan Harbinger Show

      399: Jennifer L. Eberhardt | The Science of Why We're Biased
  4. Bias Training and Evaluation:

    • Bias training programs need to be carefully evaluated for their effectiveness in changing behavior, not just in raising awareness. For instance, in law enforcement, the focus should not only be on whether the participants liked the training but rather on whether it has led to more just policing and improved community-police interactions 4.
  5. AI and Algorithmic Bias Mitigation:

    • When dealing with artificial intelligence, ensuring fair and balanced training data is vital. This can prevent the AI from developing biases that could affect its decisions. It's also suggested that continuous monitoring and adjustments are made to correct any potential biases identified 5.

These approaches highlight that while recognizing bias is critical, action towards mitigating bias requires continuous effort and thoughtful application of strategies across various contexts.