A.I. programs used to help judges predict which criminals are most likely to reoffend have shown troubling racial biases, as have those designed to help child protective services decide which calls require further investigation." (excerpted from "A.I. Could Worsen Health Disparities," NYT Jan. 31, 2019)

I marked in bold what I cannot understand. My understanding is that "those" indicates "A.I. programs," and it seems that "those" is inverted with its verb "have." (I don't know why and I would like also to know its reason.) But in this case, I think, the author should've written like "as have those been designed," because "those"(A.I. programs) cannot design by themselves, but only be designed by people.

Is my understanding totally wrong?


I'm afraid you are misparsing this rather complicated sentence. There is no passive verb, or perfect construction.

The meaning the second part (from 'as') is

Those [AI programs] designed to help child protective services decide which calls require further investigation [similarly] have [troubling racial biases].

"Have" is the main verb. Its subject is "those designed to ... investigation" - where "designed to ... investigation" is an adjectival participial clause (which itself contains an embedded finite clause). Its object is not expressed, but understood to repeat the object of the previous verb "shown": "troubling racial biases".

There are two separate reasons I can suggest for the inversion.

The first is that sentences or clauses starting with "as" in this sense often invert: "As do I" The inversion is not obligatory, unlike the case of the synonym "so" : "As I do" is possible, but "So I do" has a different meaning ("Therefore I do").

Secondly, this inversion could be a case of heavy element extraposition, as the short verb phrase "have" would otherwise be easily lost after the long and complex subject.

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  • Wow... Thank you so much for your super clear explanation. I now totally understand! – heothegreat Feb 10 '19 at 11:58
  • I've realised that there is a second, more basic, reason for the inversion, and edited my reply to add it, @heothegreat – Colin Fine Feb 10 '19 at 12:14

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