Sorry white males, you’ve done it again.
According to new research by New York University’s AI Now Institute, we may be in for a future of racist, mansplaining, sexist AIs which are “at risk of replicating or perpetuating historical biases and power imbalances,” reports The Guardian.
Examples cited include image recognition services making offensive classifications of minorities, chatbots adopting hate speech, and Amazon technology failing to recognize users with darker skin colors. The biases of systems built by the AI industry can be largely attributed to the lack of diversity within the field itself, the report said. –The Guardian
“The industry has to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and admit that its existing methods have failed to address these problems,” said report author Kate Crawford. “The use of AI systems for the classification, detection, and prediction of race and gender is in urgent need of re-evaluation.”
As the report notes, over 80% of AI professors are men, while ‘progressive’ Silicon Valley’s super-sexism isn’t helping either. Facebook’s AI research team, for example, is only 15% women. Microsoft’s stands at 10%. Nevermind that women comprise just 18% of computer science majors – which is the exact percentage of authors presenting their work at leading AI conferences.
Big tech’s ‘overt racism’ is also on display – as just 2.5% of Google’s workforce is black, while Facebook and Microsoft are each at 4%. Could this be why Microsoft’s AI, Tay, turned into a raging Holocaust denier after “machine learning” from the internet over the span of 24 hours:
"Tay" went from "humans are super cool" to full nazi in <24 hrs and I'm not at all concerned about the future of AI pic.twitter.com/xuGi1u9S1A
— gerry (@geraldmellor) March 24, 2016
Why is this happening? According to the report, it’s not the fact that far fewer women are entering computer science despite nearly 20 years of encouraging women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors. It’s issues with “the pipeline” – i.e. the industry (dominated by liberals) is racist and sexist.
Despite many decades of ‘pipeline studies’ that assess the flow of diverse job candidates from school to industry, there has been no substantial progress in diversity in the AI industry. The focus on the pipeline has not addressed deeper issues with workplace cultures, power asymmetries, harassment, exclusionary hiring practices, unfair compensation, and tokenization that are causing people to leave or avoid working in the AI sector altogether. –AI Now Institute
What recommendations does NYU have to save the world from mansplaining AI that don’t respect “historical imbalances”?
1. Publish compensation levels, including bonuses and equity, across all roles and job categories, broken down by race and gender.
2. End pay and opportunity inequality, and set pay and benefit equity goals that include contract workers, temps, and vendors.
3. Publish harassment and discrimination transparency reports, including the number of claims over time, the types of claims submitted, and actions taken.
4. Change hiring practices to maximize diversity: include targeted recruitment beyond elite universities, ensure more equitable focus on under-represented groups, and create more pathways for contractors, temps, and vendors to become full-time employees.
5. Commit to transparency around hiring practices, especially regarding how candidates are leveled, compensated, and promoted.
6. Increase the number of people of color, women and other under-represented groups at senior leadership levels of AI companies across all departments.
7. Ensure executive incentive structures are tied to increases in hiring and retention of underrepresented groups.
8. For academic workplaces, ensure greater diversity in all spaces
And remember, AI industry: