Is there really no discrimination today? Maybe it’s time to wake up!
Updated: Apr 26
Is one race better than another? Is one gender better than the other? Is one religion superior to the rest? Does one deserve more than the other? And who determines who is more worthy?
~99% of the people in the world are against discrimination, there’s no doubt about it. Obviously, discrimination is problematic. But when it concerns people’s opportunity to live better, to receive medical care and allow their children education – then it becomes a significant humanitarian issue that must be taken seriously.
Whole regions of the world “fall behind”, without the ability to develop themselves.
Most of us know these areas by names, like the favelas in Brazil or the slums in India.
In other countries such as Bangladesh or Nigeria, harsh living conditions (like malaria), uncommon in the emerging world, cause people death at very early ages.
Countless children in emerging countries drop out of school and cannot achieve wellbeing. In many of these places, the population is low-income and struggles to
subsist day by day. These people usually only use cash, making them invisible to financial institutes in terms of income statements or tax payments.
And well, the way women are treated in these places…. it’s better to say no more.
On the surface, people who live in developed countries truly believe that discrimination has been eradicated and everyone, everywhere, has an equal opportunity. But is this really the case?
In recent years, the world has become increasingly global. With just a few clicks, we can watch what is happening in real-time thousands of miles away, including in emerging countries. Thoughts, emotions and opinions can be easily shared among large communities through online posts, tweets, videos or occasionally photoshopped images.
On the one hand, this is an amazing phenomenon - technological advancement has created a real metaphysical world without boundaries. On the other hand, this progress often causes people to misinterpret others' worlds and indiscriminately pass criticism on their lifestyle and culture.
We must recognize that what may seem right for a country like Kenya, isn’t necessarily right for a country like Iceland, and what is right for El Salvador is far from right for Mongolia.
Still, there are some who are convinced that their words hold more value and that their truth is absolute. They believe the conduct in the place where they live is “the right one”, and whoever lives or sees things differently – is wrong, misleading and causes injustice in the world.
19th-century French author and literary critic, Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve, touched on this:
“Et Vigny, plus secret, Comme en sa tour d'ivoire, avant midi”
(And Vigny, more discreet, as if in his ivory tower, returned before noon).
The author first used the expression “ivory tower” to present Alfred de Vigny’s alienation from the “ordinary” people and their everyday problems.
Eva Strauss Ivory Tower
Many are unfamiliar with the problems that exist beyond their doorstep but they believe they are, and even dare tell others how to act and live.
To improve the world even in the slightest, we must recognize the difficulties that exist today. Several industries, some of the largest and most profitable in the world, lead the world economy and their interests drive entire economies.
Here are some examples from two huge industries that lead key sectors in the global economy – finance and insurance.
About 300 years ago, the first insurance company was established, and it had to “know” the person in order to insure him. The first group of insured people slowly helped form the first database, and based on the statistics of the claims, various heuristics came about to determine “who is the insured who is worth insuring”.
Scene At Lloyds, London, 1877.
The banks didn’t skip out on a process similar to that of the insurance market. Even when it comes to loans, you must assess the risk, “know who to give to”.
Both of these major fields, which led to the formation of the questionable “first world” concept – created structured ingrained discrimination, which continues to this day, even if they claim it is not so.
Well, discrimination does in fact still exist, and the engines of enterprises run on this injustice.
The main shift that has happened in the last centuries, is that now clusters (entire groups characterized by gender, race, place of residence, education, etc.) are discriminated against, as opposed to a specific person as in the past.
Outwardly, it may seem that progress has been made, that everyone has equal opportunity, but the opposite is true; People who were once discriminated – are discriminated against even now.
Government regulation currently prohibits discriminating against a black-skinned person. However, it does not at all prevent the discrimination of that same person because of their home address or zip code!
To fully understand what this means, let’s look at an example. A white person requests some kind of finance or insurance related service, and their home is in a neighborhood where the main population is black. This person will (likely) be assessed by the insuring or lending body as black, which will act as a significant consideration in deciding whether to grant them the service and if so, at what price.
We will present a few more examples of the existing discrimination against clusters, all of which are documented and appear in the attached links:
Discrimination on the basis of an academic degree – Drivers without a bachelor’s degree are required to pay at least 10% more for their car insurance, as opposed to college alumni.
Discrimination on the basis of marital status – The marital status of the service applicant affects pricing. For example, a single person (God forbid) will pay a higher premium fee than a married one.
Discrimination on the basis of age – Drivers under the age of 25 and over the age of 70 pay more than those in other age groups.
Discrimination on the basis of race/ethnicity – Latino and African American borrowers are charged more for mortgage basis points. Insured black drivers are required to pay up to 70% more [than white drivers], regardless of their driving history, part in society, or income.
Discrimination on the basis of place of residence – 67% of car insurance companies charge a 10% higher premium from an insured person whose place of residence is located in a zip code identified with “colored” neighborhoods.
Discrimination on the basis of occupation – Blue-collar workers and low-income professionals are required to pay a higher premium for car insurance than white-collar workers or high-income professionals.
As we continue to use the models and tools available in the market today for risk assessment, the discrimination against entire populations will continue, hurting their chances of giving their children an education, purchasing health services for their family, and making progress beyond survival.
Remember, companies must use discriminating tools every day to assess risks. They have no other way of doing so, and regulation on its part allows it.
As researchers and technologists, the question of how to eliminate discrimination against entire sectors has preoccupied us since 2015. We have extensively searched for a solution to serving a population of two billion adults who have no access to the financial and insurance world (called “unbanked”). About 90% of this population is constantly denied by financial service providers, simply because they cannot provide any proof of income, account transactions or credit history. Alternatively, these people most likely belong to one of the regularly discriminated groups.
How do we solve this problem? By avoiding clusters and through personal examination of each individual, disregarding prejudice based on gender, race, religion, skin color, face texture, tattoos, profession, age, place of residence, or any other personally identifiable detail.
After years of academic research and technological development, we believe the way has been found to grant every person an equal opportunity without any discrimination. Using a single anonymous selfie and some basic data, Facetrom allows banks and insurance companies to increase their number of customers by hundreds of percent (!), especially those currently suffering from discrimination as described above. Facetrom allows ~3 times more people to buy an education for their children, health, and insurance – for a better life and brighter future.
Facetrom - never give up on anyone!
1. Trust and Credit: The Role of Appearance in Peer-to-peer Lending - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254440649_Trust_and_Credit_The_Role_of_Appearance_in_Peer-to-peer_Lending
2. The Social Structure of Mortgage Discrimination - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6084476/pdf/nihms978243.pdf
3. CONSUMER-LENDING DISCRIMINATION IN THE FINTECH ERA - https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w25943/w25943.pdf
4. The Causal Effect of Sentiment on Credit Origination - https://d30i16bbj53pdg.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/media/in_the_mood_for_a_loan_january_2013.pdf