Published July 9, 2021 | Version Published
Conference paper Open

I agree with the decision, but they didn't deserve this: Future Developers' Perception of Fairness in Algorithmic Decisions

  • 1. Cyprus Center for Algorithmic Transparency, Open University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 2. Cyprus Center for Algorithmic Transparency, Open University of Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 3. Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies, Nicosia, Cyprus


While professionals are increasingly relying on algorithmic systems for making a decision, on some occasions, algorithmic decisions may be perceived as biased or not just. Prior work has looked into the perception of algorithmic decision-making from the user's point of view. In this work, we investigate how students in fields adjacent to algorithm development perceive algorithmic decisionmaking. Participants (N=99) were asked to rate their agreement with statements regarding six constructs that are related to facets of fairness and justice in algorithmic decision-making in three separate scenarios. Two of the three scenarios were independent of each other, while the third scenario presented three different outcomes of the same algorithmic system, demonstrating perception changes triggered by different outputs. Quantitative analysis indicates that a) 'agreeing' with a decision does not mean the person 'deserves the outcome', b) perceiving the factors used in the decision-making as 'appropriate' does not make the decision of the system 'fair' and c) perceiving a system's decision as 'not fair' is affecting the participants' 'trust' in the system. In addition, participants found proportional distribution of benefits more fair than other approaches. Qualitative analysis provides further insights into that information the participants find essential to judge and understand an algorithmic decision-making system's fairness. Finally, the level of academic education has a role to play in the perception of fairness and justice in algorithmic decision-making.


This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Republic of Cyprus through the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.



Files (519.7 kB)

Name Size Download all
519.7 kB Preview Download

Additional details


CyCAT – Cyprus Center for Algorithmic Transparency 810105
European Commission
RISE – Research Center on Interactive Media, Smart System and Emerging Technologies 739578
European Commission