AHP readers will be interested in a new piece in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing by Kira Lussier “From Papers to Programs: Courts, Corporations, Clinics, and the Battle Over Computerized Psychological Testing“. Abstract:
This article examines the role of technology firms in computerizing psychological tests from the 1960s to 1980s. It focuses on National Computer Systems (NCS)’s development of computer software to interpret the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. NCS trumpeted their computerized interpretation as a way to free up clerical labor and mitigate human bias, even as psychologists cautioned that proprietary algorithms risked obscuring decision rules. Clinics, courtrooms, and businesses all had competing interests in the use of computerized personality tests. I argue that test developers promoted computerized psychological tests as technical fixes for bias, even as courts and psychologists pointed to the complex layers of technological and social mediation embedded in software programs for psychological tests. This article contributes to histories of computing emphasizing the importance of intellectual property law in software development; to the relationship between labor, technology, and expertise; and to scholarship on the history and politics of algorithms.