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Senate Looking into Algorithmic Persuasion

The Senate Communications Subcommittee is looking into the use of "persuasive technology" on internet platforms, which is another way of saying the impact of algorithmic decisionmaking and machine learning on the influence of those platforms on the public.

Subcommittee chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) has scheduled the hearing for May 21.

The witnesses, which includes Google's director of user experience, are expected to provide input on how those technologies are used to "dictate outcomes" and whether there needs to be more transparency about those algorithms.

Witnesses scheduled to testify are: Maggie Stanphill, director, Google User Experience; Dean Eckles, assistant professor of marketing, MIT Sloan School of Management; Tristan Harris, co-founder and executive director, Center for Humane Technology; and Jason Hreha, former Head of Behavioral Science, for Walmart.