Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

AI Risks Replicating the Prejudices of the Past: Trust and Responsibility Are Vital to the Success of AI, Writes Kriti Sharma, Founder of AI for Good and Technology Advisor to the UK Government and the UN

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

AI Risks Replicating the Prejudices of the Past: Trust and Responsibility Are Vital to the Success of AI, Writes Kriti Sharma, Founder of AI for Good and Technology Advisor to the UK Government and the UN

Article excerpt

The biggest issue that artificial intelligence faces at the moment is not a problem of technical advancement--there are leaps being made all the time. It is about designing systems and products that humans can trust. And trust comes from transparency, responsibility, and ethical design. If an algorithm tells you to do something, you won't do it if you don't have confidence in its motives.

Perhaps the most important hurdle that AI needs to get over is the issue of bias. The algorithms in AI systems are trained using large datasets, and if those underlying datasets are biased, the output is likely to be biased as well.

This creates problems if you're using AI in systems such as making credit decisions about who gets a mortgage or a credit card, or who gets invited to a job interview. If there are historic patterns, such as a higher concentration of men in senior leadership roles, then the AI is going to make its decision based on those patterns.

Bias can also be introduced to AI by the people working on it. I don't believe it's malicious, but if teams are not diverse then bias emerges, at a very low level, during the design process, and this affects the end product. The statistics on gender equality in AI are fairly depressing--women make up about 12 per cent of the workforce.

Take the growing number of voice assistant devices powered by AI. Voice assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant have female voices or feminine personalities. …

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