Algorithms Need Managers, Too

Description:   Algorithms make predictions more accurate—but they also create risks of their own, especially if we do not understand them.

Source: HBR.org

Date:  Jan 1, 2016

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High-profile examples abound. When Netflix ran a million-dollar competition to develop an algorithm that could identify which movies a given user would like, teams of data scientists joined forces and produced a winner. But it was one that applied to DVDs—and as Netflix’s viewers transitioned to streaming movies, their preferences shifted in ways that didn’t match the algorithm’s predictions.

Another example comes from social media. Today many sites deploy algorithms to decide which ads and links to show users. When these algorithms focus too narrowly on maximizing user click-throughs, sites become choked with low-quality “click-bait.   Read the Rest of the Story

Questions:

1.  Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

2.  List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

 

 

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45 thoughts on “Algorithms Need Managers, Too

  1. Jenny Rowell

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    Algorithms are a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem solving operations, especially by a computer. I believe that they are very important when managing a business in the sense of better decision making in a faster time frame. Algorithms can take existing data and make an even more scientific and in depth accurate answer than even the smartest human. However, with all this power comes all this responsibility as Spiderman would say. The cons to this type of machine is that it takes away human capital in the work place and power. Humans that are in charge of running this have to make sure all the calculations are 100% correct before they can continue with the process or else the results are skewed. The Algorithms are very literal and even talked about how the Avengers movie demonstrates and example why making sure something is doing exactly what you are telling it to do, can be a nightmare.
    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.
    The Algorithm needs to be right for the company for a benefit to take place. The company needs to identify the risks involved, training for employees and in what situations to use it, then a company can achieve success. Some examples of Algorithms in businesses, and government are Amazon (such as stated in the article), the Health Department of the City of Boston, Yelp, ebay and goggle are all examples of successful stories of Algorithms.

    Reply
  2. Jake Osmak

    Computer algorithms are being used more and more in the business world today. They are used to predict whether things will be functional and whether they will provide sufficient information to increase sales or generate some positive outcome. While these algorithms make manager’s predictions more accurate, they shouldn’t be used to create concrete evidence. Some positives of algorithms include: helping managers make more accurate decisions, using data that otherwise would be useless, and creating explanations for cause and effect relationships. While algorithms are very helpful and are used everywhere today, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Some cons of algorithms include: They are very literal, meaning they do exactly what you say, without taking into account external factors or other meanings. They are also considered black boxes which means they can give extremely accurate information, but cannot tell you the cause, or why it is that why. Algorithms also do not understand trade-offs as the article suggests, meaning they pursue entered objectives single mindedly without considering other important factors. That’s where humans can’t be beat, because we have the brain-power necessary to disseminate information and consider all possible outcomes. Some successful business algorithms could be Netflix’s ability to suggest movies you would like, or even Facebook suggesting which pages you’d like to subscribe to.

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  3. Meghan

    There are many pros and cons of algorithms. They are more accurate than any human could possibly be and offer answers in seconds instead of hours, days, or months. Algorithms can help predict trends to help companies make decisions on what, where, and when to sell. They are even able to help select the best employs as the article states. However, although superior in some ways, algorithms are missing the human element. They cannot answer the questions as to why that answer is the correct one or predict the lasting future effects of an implementation based on an algorithms solution. As the article states, algorithms are myopic or single minded. They can only do as good as the person who is putting the input data in. They do not have the human element of common sense to work these problems out on for themselves. However, algorithms have causes some great success for businesses. A great example is that of Facebook or google advertising that have been revamped again and again to produce quality results. They are programmed to bring up certain ads based on demographics as well as user history, clicks, and searches. Another great business example would probably be amazon and Wal-Mart who would use algorithms to perfect their ordering and stock systems and predict what products to have for each season.

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  4. Yvette Gahutu

    1.Pros of Algorithms: Predicting buyers habits and preferences that can lead to better decision making for managers and in order for managers to really know what customers want and dont want which will eventually minimize losses. Algorithms can analyze large amount of data to make accurate future predictions. They are able to follow a set of of instructions by a compute to solve complicated problems and be to successful in many ways. Cons: Algorithgms does what its created to do but cannot give reasons for failed causes. They are more short term than long term success and the last one is that they still need a human intelligence to make decisions.

    2.When i fill out an online survey about a particular store it then takes that information and uses it to gather any other data it might need about me and automatically sends me promotional emails about sales, discounts and other things i might like in the store just based of a survey i filled out online.

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  5. Jordan Gunderson

    With so much available data in the world today, algorithms are the only practical way to categorize, interpret, and transform that information into useful materials for decision-making. The amount of man hours alone that algorithms replace is a huge advantage in businesses who are always looking for ways to do things more efficiently. Imagine the amount of money that google can save by using an algorithm to create personalized advertisements instead of paying an employee to research google users and choose the ads that they see. The problem that businesses can run into with algorithms is when they rely on them solely. In the business world, when it comes to decision making, I live by the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out”. If the algorithm isn’t presenting the proper results, relying on hose results without an analysis of their accuracy would be detrimental.
    Successful algorithms can be seen everywhere. On Facebook, I am often pointed towards the “people you may know section”. I have had a lot of luck getting in contact with people I had not thought of in a long time by using this feature. I love to play video games and have competed in online tournaments of the game Dota 2. The game has an algorithm that matches one group of players to another with similar skill. It uses data from the players’ game histories and their tendencies to match them up with similar skilled teams. I have found it to work great and have had many very closely matched games because of it.

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  6. Rachel Nyberg

    Algorithms – pros: being able to predict consumer behaviour for direct marketing purposes. For example, as a user of Netflix, there are often suggestions for shows or business that match interests based on previously selected programs. The targeted capability of algorithms save producers of product time and resources by following existing behavioural data. There is not need to conduct surveys, engage consumers directly or solicit new material with hopes of a positive outcome.
    The cons of algorithms are the limitation of their literal interpretation. While the algorithm may be able to tell you about certain behaviour or patterns, it cannot explain why. In other words, there is no analysis of the information.

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  7. Dawn Wilson

    Algorithms can be used to match potential buyers with products that are similar to what they already have or it could generate a response with ads for products that you already use which could lead to you either rebuying the product or upgrading to a better model. For instance I enjoy high heels with that information an algorithm could generate a list of websites or stores for me to visit that could lead to me buying more high heels which would lead to greater profits for the owners of the websites or stores. However, the algorithms could miss potential sales because they could be too myopic which would lead to less profits for owners. An example of this is if I had previously searched for Italian restaurants and I typed into a search engine that I wanted to see the nearest restaurants to where I was, that search engine could formulate a list based primarily on my previous preferences for Italian food rather than give me a complete list of all of the different restaurants in my area.
    An example of algorithm success is when Seattle was able to better identify restaurants that were violating health codes which limited the amount of unnecessary visits to establishments that were not. Because of foresight by an inspector the algorithm engineers were able to fix a problem before it became a problem which made it easier for everyone involved.

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  8. Kathy Cayenne

    Algorithms can be useful in managing a business, they have the ability to identify patterns that can lead to better decision making by the manager. Algorithms can analyze large amounts of data very quickly and search out specifics within the data to perform operations that can help a business reach its short term and long term goals. Algorithms have the ability to make accurate predictions about the future by using existing data to determine what might happen in a slightly different situation. Managers can use algorithms to increase sales, reduce labour and target specific customers making their businesses more efficient. Managers need to remember that algorithms are very literal, unlike humans, algorithms cannot rationalize or prioritize the data. The algorithm can only do as it has been told and ignores other considerations like a business’s overall goals. It is important that a manager considers all possible outcomes and wants to insure that the algorithm is designed to meet the business’s expectations. Managers also must understand that an algorithm may not be able to answer all the questions a manager may have. The algorithm can predict an outcome based on the data provided but it may not be able to give an explanation as to why the outcome is what it is. It is important that a manager clearly defines what he wants from the algorithm and what he doesn’t want when using the results.

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  9. Nana Esi

    Algorithm, judging from the article, may refer to a set of instructions that are performed in a sequence especially by a computer to solve problems or achieve a goal. Due to the fact that, it is a machine that is meant to solve these problems, it definitely has several pros and cons. Some pros may be; a.) It recognizes patterns or styles that are delicate and difficult to analyze and cannot be deduced and resolved by human examination. b.) It also uses these patterns that have been recognized to produce precise understanding and also notify people in order to enhance better decision making. c.) Another pros of an algorithm is that, unlike a human being, it does whatever it is told or whatever is imputed and may predict what will happen in the future. On the other hand, it has several disadvantages or cons. Among them are; a.) An algorithm is based on probability or chance and not definite facts and figures. b.) Although an algorithm may predict events in the future, it does not provide a reason or cause for events that will happen, thereby providing incomplete and unsatisfactory information.
    The Health Department which may be seen in the article, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Educational Institutions (post-secondary institutions) and Statistics Canada may be a few examples of algorithm success in businesses, education and government.

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  10. Kevin Liu

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    Pros
    • Great with individualized marketing strategies.
    • Much faster speed and wider scale with its performance than human.
    • Able to use the existing data to give more accurate prediction for the future than human do.
    Cons
    • Not very good with decision make when is comparing with human
    • Algorithms are extremely literal it only doing exactly what it is told to do.
    • No matter how accurate the Algorithms are, it only can provide information based on calculation, and at the end these information still have to be process by human.

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

    Algorithms is quite useful with the health department, it can help the health department to find which restaurants that are at risk for causing food borne illnesses. Also Netflix use algorithms to create a list of shows or movies customer might interest in base on their past viewing history. At last, website like Facebook and Google use algorithms to create customized pop-up ads for individual customer base on their search history.

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  11. Patrick L

    1. Pros – accomplish what they are told to do. Can predict the future/outcome of an event. Give better predictions. Can accomplish their tasks way faster than humans. Very useful for managers for making decisions in the future.
    Cons – literal, will do exactly what they are told, literally. Lots of variables. Has no abstract thinking, no thinking outside the box. Bottom line – it can tell you the “what” but it cannot answer the “why”
    2. Examples of algorithm success – recommendation engines on sites. Netflix’s “Suggested for you” category.
    While all algorithms are right, in a way, they only tell part of the story. As a manager, you must decide which factors are important and combine those with the results of the algorithm.

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  12. Jill Tataryn

    PROS
    Algorithms are able to make useful predictions at high speed and accuracy. This is useful in business in many ways. It can determine what might happen in a different setting, time, or with a different population. Businesses can use this to decide which product/service to provide, whom to provide it to, when to provide it, and other useful information. Algorithms allow businesses to make more informed decisions, as well as much more efficient decisions. A pro of algorithms in managing a business would allow the manager to save time and effort calculating how to make certain decisions.

    CONS
    A drawback of an algorithm is that it does exactly what it has been programmed to do, and ignores everything else. This could cause a business to inadvertently discriminate in some way against particular locations, products, customers, etc., such as the food inspectors targeting poor neighborhoods. Also, algorithms cannot tell you what causes their prediction or why. This is a con because although businesses will have more accurate information about/for the future, they will not be able to determine what caused it or why. Another con would be that if these limitations caused an issue, it would cause the manager of the business even more time and effort to correct.

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  13. Miriam Ott

    Algorithms can be very helpful for managers to make prediction based decisions that algorithms can produce at a much faster rate than humans ever could. If given explicit and specified objectives, Algorithms provide consistency and accuracy of vast information to improve overall efficiency. The objectives are easily manipulated by managers to provide more meaningful information.

    Unfortunately, the lack of a human component within these algorithms leaves the computers making literal translations of the objectives, which as a result, doesn’t always provide the correct predictions. These algorithms are myopic, and although they can provide fast results, they don’t provide reasoning behind their conclusions which can lead to misunderstandings of the data.
    They are also unable to adapt to changes in the market which requires constant manipulation and updates of the algorithm to continually fit expectations.

    While reading this article, I immediately thought of Amazon, because as soon as I click on an item to view it and read more about it as a potential purchase, it now suggests other things that I might have an interest in. Compiling all the information about my past purchases and items that I seem to have an interest in, I now notice that when I log into Amazon, it provides me with an increasingly personalized experience which I’m sure helps Amazon’s odds of bringing me, and all other Amazon users to purchase.
    I enjoyed the example of the use of an algorithm to aid the health department in increasing their efficiency in targeting restaurants for food related sickness. For the health department to increase their efficiency by eliminating 40% of their inspections and achieve the same accuracy and result is a substantial amount, and is definitely a positive and achievable benefit of algorithms.

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  14. R-M Nyberg

    1. The pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business may be summarized as follows: Two prods – You can use the collected data to determine your sales targets in a business. And you can direct the algorithms to collect information for you through the direction of soft goals that can be applied in a literal fashion. The main con includes the fact that the human element of these interactions becomes obliterated.
    2. Some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government include successes in businesses like using buying patterns to determine long-term product growth objectives. If I am at Save-On Foods, and I use my card for discounts, they can apply the data from the purchases I make to items that will stock in the store for my predicted future shopping preferences.

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  15. Jared

    Algorithms are a great idea and, like any tool, can be used effectively if wielded properly. One of the pros of using algorithms include matching sellers to interested consumers. If I am interested in snowboarding, I naturally would prefer Facebook ads pitching Burton’s new bindings to me over other irrelevant ads. Burton advertises to their target market, and I don’t have to see ads like “Hot Christian Singles” or “Vegan-Friendly Restaurants”—it’s a win-win. It also costs less money than tracking down snowboard enthusiasts or randomly firing off thousands of ads and hoping your target market sees it. Algorithms have done worlds of good for advertising and for consumers.
    However, this comes with many cons as mentioned in the article. Algorithms tend to do their jobs too well, as shown by Netflix and Facebook’s examples. I have grown tired of using Facebook due to the fact that my newsfeed is suddenly plagued by middle-aged women reposting things like “Senior citizen gets assaulted by silverback gorilla…what this man did next left me in tears”. Algorithms have literally ruined Facebook by promoting click-bait rubbish that is suddenly perpetuated its new, massive audience—people concerned about grandmas being accosted by silverbacks (I mean, who wouldn’t be) and such.
    So, despite being useful, algorithms are annoying nonetheless. I vote yes for better management.

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  16. Adrien

    Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    Algorithms can crunch a massive amount of data at a very high pace by identifying patterns which they will then turn into insights that can be exploited by managers to enhance decision making in a business context. Algorithms have also largely contributed to the automation of the business processes in many companies. However these powerful analytical tools must be handled with caution: they often detect correlation between variables which should not be mistaken for causation relationships. Algorithms also tend to be very literal: they will only do what they are explicitly told and will ignore other considerations hence the importance of a well-thought instructions and objectives.

    List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

    The health department of the city of Boston successfully implemented an algorithm which detects the restaurants where there is a higher risk of food-born illnesses for the clients. The algorithm simply used two different sources for data and compared them: the record of the health department and information publicly available on the website « Yelp ». The gain in efficiency was enormous: they spotted the same number of violations in one year with 40% fewer inspectors. Another algorithm provided extremely strategic information to Ebay. As a matter of fact they realized thanks to that algorithm that advertisements on Google were useless for the most part because they were shown to Ebay shoppers who would have used the site anyway.

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  17. Dalicia

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    For managers and employees needing to run reports and analyze things necessary for everyday operations of a company is beneficial for saving time and making profitable decisions. Algorithms providing future predictions that are correct can be beneficial even making long term decisions if done correctly.

    Marketing aspects of algorithm appears to run a higher risk of being incorrect and companies such as Netflix can waste millions into a product the consumers unpredictably dislike and never use. The also invasive and consistent nagging from click bait articles that tend to make consumers aggravated with the ad’s and less likely to have any interest in reading or purchasing what is continuously being presented to them, because they are associating them as more of a nuisance then anything else. Algorithms have no moral compass or social understanding of what’s wrong, right, or too much.

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

    Google has had huge success in calculating proper ads to certain consumers using Algorithms. Officials love the idea of adopting algorithms believing they with have an added benefit of receiving better predictions of a neighborhood or individual likely to participate or do a crime. Health departments use algorithms to help discover which restaurants are likely carrying food borne bacteria and therefore help prevent people from getting ill.

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  18. Holly

    Pros
    – can give us a wide variety of information fairly easily and quickly
    – can be used to target certain markets
    – convenience, for example with Netflix’s “shows you may also like” section

    Cons
    – can’t predict what will cause an event nor why
    – don’t understand trade-off’s, pursue objectives single-mindedly
    – algorithms tend to be myopic (think short term success)
    – programs that produce low-quality content by seeking to maximize click-throughs (increasing website visits, not website sales)
    – correlation does not equal causation (Example in the article: If an algorithm finds that short tweets get retweeted more often, this does not mean if your tweets are shorter more people will retweet them)
    – Still need a human aspect to decision making

    Reply
  19. Jacklyn

    1. Some of the pro’s of algorithms in business are that they can produce results in seconds, they can sometimes make more effective decisions based off of facts that a human may not see, and that if you do not get the desired result you can redefine the algorithm rather quickly. A few con’s are that algorithms are literal and may not read the input the way a human would, like mentioned in the article they do exactly what they are told, that they take away from human interaction, for example, as mentioned automated phone calls are less likely to get people to listen than if there is another person on the other line.
    2. An example in real life is companies running potential employees resumes through a machine to identify which have the most qualifications based on the words in the resume and cover letter. This is a success because the employer no longer has to sift and go through potentially hundreds of resumes, instead they are able to only go through maybe twenty of the most qualified candidates. I also believe there is a flaw to this, if the particular applicant didn’t use the words that the machine has been set to look for because then they may be a possible candidate for the job but never considered because of a wording choice.

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  20. Quinton Slack

    There are multiple pros and cons of algorithms in the business world. Pros of algorithms include the ability to maneuver and comprehend large amounts of data in a very timely manner and algorithms can make reasonable guesses into the future on customer satisfaction and demand. With information being processed in a timely manner algorithms intrigue the opportunity of consuming customers wants and needs in an efficient manner. Cons on the other hand in the practice of business is that algorithms are literal and can only focus on the task at hand, they can not multi task like a human can persay. Algorithms take up time of employees and can only focus on one task at a time, with saying that the possibility of algorithms in endless though. Algorithms don’t understand what is important at times and can out weigh the important factors of information with what they are programmed to understand.

    An example of a successful algorithm is the use of apple tv. By understanding certain shows certain individuals enjoy watching apple TV has selectively taken a niche market and narrowed its scope to directly correlate with personal preference of a user to enhance their experience with Apple TV.

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  21. Olivia Jorgensen

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    Pros: Can easily make accurate step-by-step analytical operations at incredible speed and scale. These predictions are faster than if they were done by humans and they are able to identify subtle patterns that humans can miss. Algorithms can also be used to make prediction that can help businesses with sales and marketing.
    Cons: People are treating algorithms and machines that run them the same way they’d treat an employee supervisor, but algorithms behave differently than humans. Algorithms are extremely literal and understands only what is explicitly told. Also, algorithms are black boxes. An algorithm can tell you which employees are most likely to succeed without identifying which attributes are most important for success.

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

    Netflix developed an algorithm that could identity which movies a given user would like. It shows movies/TV shows that you may enjoy based on what you have previously watched before. These results are tailored specifically to you and what you have watched. Also, many sites deploy algorithms to decide which ads and links to show their users which are tailored to each individual’s preferences. Finally, many search engines use algorithms to help find information quickly, which saves the user a lot of time.

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  22. Sean Cubitt

    We know live in a world that is dominated by computers doing the thinking for us. This creates the ability to make statistical decisions, and create an efficient way to get things done. A lot of this work can be done through algorithms. With a simple algorithm you can sort any information you want into relevant or irrelevant, or solve complex problems. But like anything thy come with pros and cons. Pros can range anywhere from increasing efficiency, separating information, finding imbalances in the stock market, or creating a way to mass market to consumers. The cons, on the other hand, have a much smaller range. That is, the biggest problem is it takes away any human element of strategic thinking. Algorithms are relied very heavily upon for simple tasks, rather then serving their purpose of a more complex task. Some successful ways that algorithms have been used is by Netflix and Facebook. Netflix uses algorithms to determine a way to see what type of movies consumers would like based on previous movies. Facebook uses them to send out specific ads on their page based on pages you like, and other things you have looked at. But its not just companies that use them, governments can also use them. They can be used for political campaigns to find out their most successful areas to run a campaign, what time to run a tv ad, or post to certain peoples Facebook. They can also be used to set up different speed traps, taking into account time of day, location, traffic volume, ect. The algorithm can determine the highest rate of success to set up a speed trap. These are just a small series of things an algorithm can do, and it can be created to do much more.

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  23. Ryland Hatton

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    Pros of algorithms in managing a business are that they can make more accurate predictions and forecasts then we can because they take orders literally as they are said. They don’t stray or thing like we do, so they can perform tasks with just that objective in mind therefor being more direct on what is needed.
    Cons are that they are literal so they don’t think of consequences or faults in the system, i.e. they don’t account for human thoughts and sometimes our thoughts are sporadic and don’t follow a set in stone guideline. They also don’t understand tradeoffs according to the article, as once they are programmed they only set to the one thing that is programmed fir them to understand.

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.
    Netflix is an example of a success story in algorithms in business. Although they may not be perfect I’ve found that Netflix predictions for shows to watch have been very close and have always provided me with something to watch when your stuck looking for that next series to binge watch.

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  24. Eden Hoff

    1)Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    PROS: Perform analytical operations at incredible speeds and scale, they are able to identify subtle patterns that humans can miss. Creates accurate insights and allows effective decision making.
    CONS: Algorithms are extremely literal, doing exactly what it is told. They work single mindlessly, not considering any other option or approach except for their explicit orders. Algorithms are black boxes, able to predict the future but not give you any information on how it will get there. It’s like only giving you the answer to a question, but not showing the work to get it.

    2)List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.
    Helping the health department finding restaurants that were at risk for causing food borne illnesses. Using an algorithm they increased efficiency by catching the same number of violators, and using 40% fewer inspectors. Another successful use of Algorithms is the website Amazon, using this allows them to suggest other things that you might be interested in. This is based on what you have looked at and purchased before, it is effective to create a more personal experience and to also increase purchases on the website.

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  25. missickb

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    The pros of ALGORITHMS in managing a business are (1) algorithms can be used to generate huge amounts of information quickly in a short period of time and (2) algorithms can be used to make predictions that can help businesses with sales and marketing.

    The cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business are (1) Algorithms are extremely literal, (2) Algorithms focus only on what they are programmed to do, (3) Algorithms require careful management by humans, (4) Algorithms understand only what it is explicitly told, (5) Algorithms provide incomplete information, (6) Algorithms can only provide information based on calculations, and (7) Algorithms pursue a specified objective single-minded.

    Even with the cons, Algorithms are very useful to the management and success of businesses.

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

    Examples of algorithm success in business, education, or government consists of using search engines and apps to obtain information. Search engines and apps can be used in business, education, or government to find information quickly. This saves time. The time saved can be used to focus on important matters specific to business, education, or government.

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  26. Juan

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

    When YouTube first started back in 2005, they were faced with the challenge of how to organize and promote the content uploaded to their site. They decided to create an algorithm that sorted and promoted videos based on the number of views they received. Their logic was that if something had a lot of views it meant that it had good content, so then they would promote that video even more which would lead it to getting even more views.
    This system quickly proved to not be so perfect. People started using misleading thumbnails and titles to get more people to click on them. People would quickly clicked out of the video once they realized that the video wasn’t what they were expecting, but that didn’t matter because that counted as a view for the video so it would just keep getting more and more promotion through misleading advertisement.
    On March 2012 YouTube decided to change how their algorithm worked. Now they would start rewarding videos based on retention time. This stopped videos that used false advertisement to get views from further getting more free promotion.
    This lead to the rise of gaming channels. At the time of the algorithm switch comedy channels ruled YouTube because the algorithm supported their kind of content the best. However, it no longer does that. The average comedy video on YouTube is 3:25 minutes long and they upload new videos 1-2 times a week. The average gaming video on the other hand is 9:36 minutes long and they upload more than 8 times a week. Since the new algorithm supports the amount of viewing time over one session gaming channels were now given a new edge. This is the main reason for a YouTuber named PewDie Pies juggernaut success, who is now the most subscribed channel on YouTube with 41 million subscribers, 15 million more subscribers than the second most subscribed channel. PewDie Pie isn’t the only gamer on YouTube to have benefited from the new algorithm. 9 of the top 25 channels on YouTube are gaming channels, which doesn’t seem like much but when you take out the 9 VEVO music channels and the 1 Talk Show Network (that just uploads smalls clips from their actual TV show), gaming channels make up 8 of the top 15 original YouTube created and run channels. That’s more than 50%.
    Now you can argue whether or not gaming channels deserve all of the attention that they get or not, but there is no denying the impact of YouTube’s algorithm on the YouTube community.

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  27. Grace Clark

    Pros: Algorithms are able to perform step-by-step analytical operations at a very high speed. They are able to pick up on subtle patterns that humans can not pick up. Algorithms will pursue a specific objective. They can also achieve a great amount of work if developed properly.
    Cons: They can easily create risks if not developed correctly. (example: Netflix developed an algorithm to identify what users would like, later down the road they realized the preferences did not match algorithm predictions) Social media advertisements show that click through rates increased but overall customer satisfaction decreased. Algorithms are very literal and ignore other considerations. They give answers but no reason. Algorithms are myopic. (example: a company chose which products to package based on an algorithm that told them which products would sell the most. As the sales increased customer satisfaction decreased because of the miscommunication of the algorithm. Customers were not pleased with the products they received because the algorithm only took into account which products would increase sales)
    Success: Algorithms created by health departments who want to know which restaurants who are at risk for causing food-born illnesses. Google created Pop-up advertisements regarding possible arrest records. These advertisements are customized to what people type into google.

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  28. Ella

    Discuss the Pros and cons of Algorithm in managing a business.
    Developing an algorithm involves an actual level of interface with a client as algorithms are meant to meet a business strategy. algorithms can help in faster ways that a human cannot. it has also been able to enhance the value of marketing. they can be shaped and disposed which a really big benefit as it will also lead to a near perfection in terms of predicting the market.

    however, the cons of algorithm is they lack to adapt the ways of a business verdict. Algorithm is an absolute factor of obtaining a business interaction but it is really important that this algorithms are primed with good hands by which they don’t have to observe things the wrong way. they can also cause dissatisfaction as to ways of leaving a feedback because they cannot work on their own.

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  29. Jaelee K

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    An algorithm can be of great use to a business, so long as it and its predictions are fully understood by its users. As said in the article, algorithms’ speed, accuracy, predictive power, and the subtle insight that is gained from them can be extremely advantageous to a company, allowing the managers to use the algorithms to make quicker quantitative predictions and decisions. However, one must know the boundaries of the algorithm, its assumptions, the scope in which it should be used, and be able to add in extra qualitative knowledge when using any model to project into reality. The article also mentions that another issue that arises when using algorithms in the real-world is their specificity and lack of consideration for human nature; an algorithm can only do exactly what it is told. Although this may be beneficial in some ways such as unbiased predictions, this can also have serious consequences depending on the use of the algorithm, its context, and how it is used in relation to something as complex as humans. This can be counteracted if one understands the algorithm and sets soft goals in addition to the hard goals.
    In my own opinion, algorithms can be extremely helpful as they are able to analyze raw data and come up with unbiased facts and patterns that the data presents. As a manager, it would be difficult to separate one’s own bias from what the data is telling them. In this sense, as long as one is careful about the predictions that the algorithms are creating and the scope and context in which these predictions are made, algorithms have advanced society, especially the business world, for the better.

    Reply
  30. Wheaton

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business

    Pros: This is really interesting for me. Algorithms are a ever-evolving process of collecting data. Just a few minutes ago I just opened up my internet explorer home page, to have ads littered down the side of the website all attaining to me. These ads are all focused on sports, but more particularly tickets to sporting events. This database of algorithms has picked up through various amounts of my online purchases and web searches, that I like sports. Even more crazy to me, is the fact that I regularly check my favourite football team, the Kanas City Chiefs, website just for up to the minute stats, news and other updates attaining to that specific team. The particular ads all were “buy tickets to Kanas City Chiefs games” or “buy merchandise for the chiefs”. All which I am interested in. This is a great way for businesses to appeal to the user and grab their target market to maximize profit.
    Cons: I feel like there is not too many cons for these types of Algorithms, but there is one glaring issue that most people (including myself) will have. To what extent is too far ? When has the privacy line been crossed from convince target shopping to attacking and invading privacy for citizens? Like i mentioned earlier, its great that the ads attain to me personally since i love football, but if my girlfriend (who dislikes football ) uses my computer she will be bombarded with football related ads that will annoy her.

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  31. Jordyn

    Pros and Cons of Algorithms.

    Some of the pros in algorithms would be things like the convenience of it because it would seem to be more efficient and make things an easier process. Algorithms would also give a consistency in the business and are accurate with step-by-step. Cons would be that you are almost limited, you can’t think outside the box or think outside of options given. Algorithms may be convenient but they are also predictable and take things to literally which can make it hard to manage at times with communication. There are both pros and cons to algorithms but it all depends on the situation and how it is used. It can be efficient and quick and convenient but at the same time, make communication hard and only allow so much thinking and can be predictable.

    A main example that I notice is things like the information and convenience provided whether its things like finding textbooks for school, spellcheck on your electronics, google, or providing things that they think you would like say on shomi. All of that is easy and provided for you and convenient. So whether you’re running a business, in or working at a school, government or really anything in daily life, if you are thinking inside the box, it is efficient and quick and helps you out which makes things run smoothly and more successful.

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  32. Carrie Chen

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    Some pros of algorithms in business are (1)its convenience for customers to find the things they like.They don’t need to spend more time on searching,for example,if in China,you can reduce the number of customer service staffs.(2)It can help companies analyze a product or an activity expectations index,then the manager can decide how to carry out the activities.(3)It can push the high-quality content to interested users.so they can seek more users.(4)It analysizes data faster and more efficiently,it can fully expression of some of the informations to customers.
    Some cons of algorithms in business are(1) The expression of analysis is more difficult to communicate between departments,for example,when the manager tells the software development department, said need this feature, but demand is not clear expression of itself.(2)it need to accumulate a large amount of data in order to extrapolate the results.(3) society changing constantly and customers preference changing constantly,derived from the results are not necessarily keep up with the changing times.
    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.
    (1)Baidu search engine(maybe in China everyone use it),google search engine.
    (2)Alibaba data product manager analysize the taobao recommend(maybe in China everyone use it)
    (3)Ministry of Finance budget, expenditure.
    (4)The school’s enrollment plan

    Reply
  33. Robyn

    Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    Using algorithms in managing businesses can be very useful. Algorithms help make more accurate predictions for businesses. They can make many predictions such as sales, what items people want to buy, or what adds they want to look at. Knowing this information can help make companies more efficient and increase their different marketing decisions which can increase their sales and better predict what their consumers need and desire. Algorithms can also predict wrong however. Because as said in this article algorithms are very literal therefore you need to know everything that you want with boundaries and think of everything that could potentially go wrong using the scenarios. If the algorithms are misunderstood, or used wrong then they could very easily do more harm than good. It appears in many of the examples given in the article that a main struggle for companies besides the fact that they did not fully understand the algorithm is that they were only looking at the now. When constructing the algorithm they should be sure to look at the future. Planning and keeping the algorithms up to date would be a very beneficial way to potentially minimize the damage and cons that algorithms can create.

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  34. Neve O.

    1) Pro: Step-by-step analytical operations at incredible speed and scale, more accurate predictions, and makes businesses more efficient when used correctly.
    Con: if the algorithm is not understood it cannot shift with change, to narrowly focused and less affective outcomes, we do not know how to interact with them correctly; algorithms are treated like humans, algorithms are literal, they are block boxes: you can not see what is missing but you know there is something missing.
    When managers do not know how the algorithm is used and how it can be made to identify every possibility they need to be aware of they will end up using an algorithm that will hinder them more then help them. Managers forget that correlation does not always mean causation, which affects the algorithm.
    2) Some examples of algorithm success: in Boston they used an algorithm to determine which restaurants the health department should inspect due to violations. With the algorithm they identified the same number of places as usual but with forty percent less inspections. EBay’s algorithm helped inform them that their ads were being targeted at people who already knew about it and were going to shop there anyways. Therefore they realized where they did not need to focus there spending and where they should figure out to use their money more efficiently.

    Reply
  35. Mojtaba F

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    Algorithms are a very useful way of adding efficiency to day-to-day business operations. However, as with any computer, they lack the adaptation and intuition factors that come with almost every business decision. Like the article states, computers are very literal: they do what they’re told and ignore every other possibility in a situation. This means that if there is a better decision possible in a situation, but the algorithm is not programmed to think in that way, the most effective decision will not be made. As a result, there will be consequences to businesses that use algorithms without managing and analysing its decisions.

    Algorithms are very good at predicting future business situations, however, it is imperative that these algorithms are managed properly, since, it is extremely easy to forget and apply an algorithm to a situation that it was not meant to be applied in.

    Additionally, algorithms should be developed with the future in mind: the costs of designing an algorithm for a specific purpose (such as Netflix for its DVDs) will not be justified if that purpose makes a dramatic and quick evolution (i.e. when Netflix started streaming its videos online).

    Reply
  36. Annalee

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    Some pros of algorithms in managing a business would include their ability to go through huge amounts of data and pick out specific points that you are looking for. They can make finding small amounts of data easier and specify to the data that best fits you. They are also good at predicting the future by simply looking at the large amount of data that has already been acquired and predict how well it would do. This can help a company become more successful within business because they are able to look at trends within the data and be notified of its future success. Algorithms also have incredible speed when it comes to analyzing data and can function faster then any individual can when it comes to processing data. This allows data to be easily accessible to managers and saves them time in the process.

    The cons of algorithms in managing a business is that they only consider what you tell them to consider. They are very literal and this means that all instructions need to be communicated clearly enough for the algorithm to understand. If the instructions are not clear, the algorithm can easily misinterpret or take it too literally. This can cause issues towards managers because the proper action is not being performed the right way. Algorithms can predict the future accurately, but they can not give any reasoning as to how the current data will lead to a certain outcome. This can leave managers frustrated because they want to be able to figure out how they can be successful going into the future.

    Reply
  37. Wesley Howery

    Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    The pro’s of algorithms in managing business are that if they are developed correctly they are able to scan through massive amounts of material in a short amount of time. They are more detailed then humans on specific tasks and can pick up tendencies and patterns that the average human reader couldn’t discover. Also algorithms can take all the information they learned about into consideration on developing a solution, a human cannot remember everything leaving them accessible to forgetting a very important detail. Algorithms can produce very helpful advise if they are programmed with all of the soft goals in mind.

    The con’s of algorithms are that they are so narrow focused that they only focus on what is programmed in their coding. They have no “realistic” view on the world and can come up with solutions that are inconceivable to the realistic view. If the human doesn’t manage the algorithm when creating it, the algorithm can perceive the task the wrong way. Also, algorithms only have suggestions on how it can improve the situation, the human needs to decided whether these solutions will actually be an advantage to them.

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  38. Erica K

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    Some pros of algorithms in business are its ability to produce such a vast amount of information in rather short period of time. Another pro is that if the information you find is not exactly what you are looking for it is easy enough to redefine your search without much hassle. Spitting out ads of familiar searches makes it easier on those of us that forget what we were interested in or it is only a click away to back to the site.
    The cons of algorithms are the inability to think outside of the box and use abstract thinking. To perform similar kind of thinking as humans a algorithm has to be ran a few different times in a few different ways. Humans are curious beings. Algorithms produce predictable results such as which employees are more likely to succeed, which athlete is predicted to win the track and field event but it does not give us the how or why which is usually what some of us are more interested in. An algorithm does not understand sarcasm, it takes what you say literally and that is what it computes back out to you. There is no grey area with algorithm (which in a sense I guess is a pro because we as humans do not have to try and interpret what the algorithm is saying. It is more straightforward and clear which is nice especially because humans have different interpretations of things).

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.
    An example I use quite often is spell check whether it be on my computer or smartphone. Sometimes when you are in a rush typing out a response or those same words that you always struggle with usually spell check is there to help you out. All it takes is a click of a button and the word is corrected and you do not have to sit in agony trying to figure it out. Some people prefer different search engines such as google versus yahoo or yahoo versus ask. Another example is web browsers where once again some mac users might prefer firefox versus safari. All of these search tools make it quick and usually efficient for the user to find whatever it is they are looking for.

    Reply
  39. shin owaku

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    Some of the pros when using an algorithm in your business in the ability it gives you to make reasonable predictions that could positively affect your business. Humans can’t always predict things as efficiently as the algorithm can, so its just another way technology incorporation is making one of the aspects of human life easier.

    One of the main cons with an algorithm is they aren’t entirely capable of thinking outside of the box, they don’t have artificial intelligence so they are very literal and won’t always be able to efficiently problem solve if there are errors that are put into the algorithm. This is why humans and the algorithm should be working together to provide managing business decisions.

    Reply
  40. Jacob Burley

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    Two major cons of algorithms are that they are extremely literal and they are what we call “black Boxes.” Being literal means that algorithms do exactly as they’re told. It only does that task a it’s given without taking any outside variables into consideration. While a black box means that it will tell you what happened in a certain situation but it will not be able to tell you how it got to what happened. The cons aside using algorithms can greatly increase businesses productivity in many different areas. For example with advertising algorithms they enable business to advertise directly to the consumer and there habits without having to assign a employee to learn habits about said customer. I believe that algorithms can greatly help a business in many different avenues but the info that they give out must be taken with a grain of salt. Algorithms take less time but can’t beat a human beings interpretation.

    2. List some examples of algorithm successes in business, education, or government.

    Easily the most important algorithm used in business today is the one that Google uses for its search engine. Rather than relying on human curation Google uses an algorithm to supply the most pertinent information to its users. The main way it does this is it decides a webpage’s “Page Rank.” A “Page Rank” is how many times a webpage is linked on other webpage’s. The more this happens the more important relevant the page becomes and in turn the higher it appears on Google’s search results.

    Reply
  41. Leila Methot

    1. Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.
    Algorithms are a useful tool in business for making consistent accurate predictions at a speed that is incapable of any human. They help managers make future decisions based on what is frequently seen as useful/interesting to the user so they target these “items” to “catch” the user. The algorithms help catch consumers by being able to manipulate and adjust their data in order to predict what is popular/working in the particular market. Although algorithms are meant to benefit future decisions made by managers, there accuracy is questionable because of how literal they are and managers need to really understand how to do algorithms well to get accurate results.
    Although algorithms can give you a more accurate overall prediction of what you are looking for, they can also lead to misleading/unwanted results. Humans have the ability to understand the difference between what they want from a given goal based on common-sense and the ability to think of what is best for the company. An algorithm does not read between the lines or have its own thoughts like humans do, it is a literal program that will give results based directly on what was asked of and not account for other variables if they were not inputed.They also do not provide good feedback as to why something was good or bad because they don’t give information as to why that “something” was deemed as good or bad.

    Reply
  42. RH

    The pros of algorithms in business include its consistency in predictions, making accurate predictions in their market of use, and the ability to accomplish these tasks at a speed that can never be matched by human input. Algorithms are useful in helping managers make decisions for the future. By using algorithms, managers are able to manipulate and adjust the data in order to predict the market. It is not always an accurate tool as it is unable to accommodate for the wide range of variables in the environment. Managers still need to keep an eye on the results and determine which factors would be of greater influence in their predictions for the future.

    The cons of algorithms in business include the inability to account for every possible variable for the predictions and a lack of feedback to the user. Unfortunately, algorithms only consider the inputted variables. It will not include other variables unless the user or manager includes them in the creation of the algorithms. This reduces accuracy if the end user has not accounted for all the variables possible or required. Algorithms also do not provide an adequate amount of feedback as any mistakes will be masked by the created results. It is accurate but there is no information on how the algorithm obtained the result. Algorithms are also unable to accommodate for sudden changes in the market and require constant monitoring to work properly in the long run.

    Reply
  43. Richie Hall

    Discuss the pros and cons of ALGORITHMS in managing a business.

    Algorithms are useful to managers when making decisions for the future. They provide consistency, they make predictions in the market accurately in respect to their explicit objectives, and they accomplish these tasks through step by step analytical operations at a speed that will never be matched a human attempting to manually process the same data. Although they are far from perfect at this point, they can be manipulated and adjusted which is the biggest benefit as it will lead to near perfection in terms of predicting the market. Of course that can only happen if managers can learn to account for all of the variables in the environment and delegate the perfect level of importance to each one.

    Algorithms create risk for managers. Algorithms only consider what they are told to consider and so if you don’t account for every variable when creating the algorithm, neither will the algorithm. This causes algorithms to lead managers astray. Algorithms can also cause frustration through a lack of feedback. At times they can predict the future accurately but they cannot provide reasoning as to why the predicted outcomes came to be, critical information that remains unavailable. The biggest con is similar to one its pros. Algorithms cannot adapt to rapid market changes alone. They need to be monitored and adjusted constantly to ensure that they are productive.

    Reply
  44. JP

    It is human nature to have limited physical and mental capabilities, and even make mistakes from time to time. To counteract this, innovators began to implement algorithms to expand capabilities and reduce human error; however, the provided article points out that algorithms are not perfect. Simply, algorithms are not humans, and they do not have human-like abstract and systemic thinking capabilities. First off, algorithms focus on specific data pertaining to short term observations. With this, algorithms cannot foresee external factors that may cause issues. Secondly, algorithms focus solely on quantity rather than quality. Since humans base a large portion of decisions from quality observations, algorithms are not complementary to our thinking process. However, algorithms have many pros. For example, algorithms can input data and output a result faster than a human, such as searching one name on google and finding a multitude of results. Also, being a business major and a consumer myself, I really appreciate how algorithms have been able to enhance marketing. For example, since Netflix creates suggestions, I have a constant supply of television to watch, and subsequently, Netflix has a constant stream of revenue from my credit card. Even though algorithms are not perfect, when managed properly, they can be extremely effective in many areas of life.

    Reply
  45. Blake

    Algorithms have displayed signs of real positive advancements in technology. They can be extremely helpful in predictions of what may occur next and give you a better more accurate overall prediction. The pros of algorithms are that they will always give you an answer and that it will always be done in the exact same way. Some cons of algorithms are that they can’t always solve your problem as desired because they are too literal and they can become increasingly difficult to get exactly what you are searching for out of them. This being said they are very literal with what you ask of them to do. An example of people having success using algorithms are seen though the stock market. Many people try and make algorithms to assist in earning money. People with the right knowledge use algorithms to predict NFL outcomes generating profit. The Example of the Netflix algorithm is a great example to show how it can help a company to be successful. With the development of their algorithm it helped better predict what the users of their service would like to watch. This helped to keep their customers happy by providing them with recommended shows and movies they would actually enjoy. Although algorithms are difficult to use successfully they are beneficial when setup correctly and used accordingly.

    Reply

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