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When do people rely on algorithms?


Algorithms, scripts for sequences of mathematical calculations or procedural steps, are powerful. Even though algorithms often outperform human judgment, people appear resistant to allowing a numerical formula to make decisions for them (Dawes, 1979). Nevertheless, people are increasingly dependent on algorithms to inform their decisions on a day-to-day basis. In eight experiments, I tested whether aversion to algorithms is as straightforward a story as past work suggests. The results shed light on the important questions of when people rely on algorithmic advice over advice from people and have implications for the use of algorithms within organizations.

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