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Can nonhuman things have bias?

Politicians are subject to an incentive structure biased toward the adoption of projects and programs with highly visible immediate benefits and well-hidden costs.
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An incentive structure is non-thinking and non-human. So how can it be biased?

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closed as not a real question by RegDwigнt Feb 17 '13 at 13:00

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
First, one of your basic premises is false: the incentive structures in your sentence are all created by human beings. If you want a simple answer to your question, read just a little bit about the bias built into survey questions & verbal intelligence tests. Barrie's answer, however, should be good enough. Darwin's theory of evolution illustrates quite well the biases that exists in nature: nature isn't human or a human creation. –  user21497 Feb 17 '13 at 8:53
    
Bias may be used to mean prejudice, but it may be used in other senses as well. –  StoneyB Feb 17 '13 at 18:41

1 Answer 1

A bowling ball can be biased. That is, it can be deliberately weighted on one side to make the game more challenging. If a bowling ball, why not anything else?

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There is a definition under "bias" concerning bowling, but none for the usage in my example. –  user37756 Feb 17 '13 at 8:43
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One of the Oxford English Dictionary's definitions of the verb bias is 'To give a bias or one-sided tendency or direction to; to incline to one side; to influence, affect (often unduly or unfairly).' There is no indication that it applies only to people. –  Barrie England Feb 17 '13 at 8:47