Are algorithms racist and sexist?

jimmyaajablog writes:

Artificial intelligence has recently been criticized for amplifying sexist and racist biases from the real world – these algorithms discriminate and go beyond the line, so we need to be able to hold those who create them to account.

I recently Googled ‘unprofessional hairstyles’ and was shocked by the results of how Google’s top searches were pictures of black women with natural hair. Then, when I searched ‘professional hairstyles’, the results were of white women.

The world-web doesn’t seem to reflect and consider that most of the global population is non-white. Our algorithms seem to consider the white race and white beauty standards as superior and they dominate our search results.

A computer program used by a US court for risk assessment was biased against black prisoners. The program, Compas, was wrongly flagging black defendants as likely to reoffend at almost twice the rate of white people (45% to 24%).

A 2016 study found that Google’s online advertising system showed high-income jobs to men much more often than women.

The National Bureau of Economic Research . . . found that Uber drivers are twice as likely to cancel on black customers. Black customers wait “significantly longer” for their Ubers and experience double the cancellation rates of white passenger .

If organisation’s don’t get rid of it, we will be relying on biased algorithms that create a feedback loop in which decisions are made that create more biased data, that algorithms will then analyse and use in the future, perpetuating and furthering the bias.


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