After a series of allegations on Twitter claiming that Apple Card’s algorithm discriminates against women, the New York Department of Financial Services is officially investigating Apple’s new credit card. The card, which is issued by Goldman Sachs, first came under fire when tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson tweeted that Apple Card’s algorithm gave him a credit limit 20 times greater than what it offered his wife, despite her credit score being higher.
This garnered responses from users who claim to have had similar experiences — including Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, who says Apple Card discriminated against his wife as well, giving her a credit limit 10 times less than his despite their having shared assets. When Heinemeier Hansson reached out to Apple regarding the issue, he says he was told it was the algorithm’s fault.
So nobody understands THE ALGORITHM. Nobody has the power to examine or check THE ALGORITHM. Yet everyone we’ve talked to from both Apple and GS are SO SURE that THE ALGORITHM isn’t biased and discriminating in any way. That’s some grade-A management of cognitive dissonance.— DHH (@dhh) November 8, 2019
In a statement on Twitter, Goldman Sachs addressed the allegations, maintaining that it “will not make decisions based on factors like gender.” Of course, while there are more factors beyond credit score that go into determining credit limit, and while Apple Card only issues cards for individual accounts (not joint), this serves as another example of the potential for inherent bias present in artificial intelligence — like biased search engine results and facial recognition.
Refinery29 reached out to Apple for comment.
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