Elizabeth Warren says that if Goldman Sachs can't explain its Apple Card algorithm, it shouldn't use it

Apple Card physical and virtual
Apple Card physical and virtual (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Elizabeth Warren says that Goldman Sachs has a responsibility to explain the algorithm it uses when offering credit to Apple Card customers.
  • She was commenting on recent reports that Apple Card uses a 'sexist' algorithm when issuing credit limits.
  • Warren further argued that if GS cannot explain the algorithm, then it shouldn't be using it.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has waded into the debate over reports of sexism in the algorithm Goldman Sachs uses to evaluate Apple Card applicants, saying that if GS cannot explain the algorithm then it shouldn't be using it.

According to a report from Bloomberg Warren said:

"Yeah, great. so let's just tell every woman in America, 'You might have been discriminated against, on an unknown algorithm, it's on you to telephone Goldman Sachs and tell them to straighten it out"... "I'm sorry guys, that's not how it works."

Warren further commented on algorithms, saying:

"We're all beginning to understand better that algorithms are only as good as the data that gets packed into them... And if a lot of discriminatory data gets packed in, in other words, if that's how the world works, and the algorithm is doing nothing but sucking out information about how the world works, then the discrimination is perpetuated."

Warren said that it was "the company's responsibility" to come forth and disclose the information about how the algorithm was designed and what effect that had, "and if they can't do it, then they need to pull it down."

GS has already expressed in statements that it does not make decisions based on factors such as gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or "any other legally prohibited factors." In fact, GS claims that it cannot even see the gender or marital status of an applicant who applies for credit. Despite this, GS has offered to reevaluate the credit limit users are offered, if you get in touch with them. This is the telephone call to which Warren was referring.

Furthermore, Bloomberg has also reported that Goldman Sachs plans to allow applications for shared household credit cards, where currently only individuals can apply.

Elizabeth Warren's damning outlook is just the latest turn in the unfolding Apple Card Saga, which began after a federal investigation was opened up into accusations of gender discrimination. Many took to Twitter to express displeasure over the claims, inclunding David Heinemeier Hansson, and Apple founding father Steve Wozniak. Hansson's initial outburst on Twitter claimed he was offered a credit limit 20x higher than that of his wife, despite the fact they filed joint tax returns.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9