Discrimination in the AI Industry Contributes to Discriminatory AI Systems

A new report from New York University’s AI Now Institute titled Discriminating Systems: Gender, Race and Power in AI highlights the diversity crisis in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) sector and its effect on the development of AI systems with gender and racial biases. 

The lack of diversity in the AI sector and academia spans across gender and race. Recent studies show that women comprise only 15 percent of AI research staff at Facebook and 10 percent at Google. Women make up 18 percent of authors at leading AI conferences, while more than 80 percent of AI professors are men. Representation of other minorities is also sparse. Only 2.5 percent of Google’s workforce is black, while this is true of 4 percent for both Facebook and Microsoft. 

According to researchers, AI’s lack of diversity extends past the underrepresentation of women and other minority groups to power structures and the creation and use of various AI systems. Most of all, the report suggests that historical discrimination in the AI sector needs to be addressed in tandem with biases found in AI systems. 
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Google Engineer’s Manifesto Reveals Importance of Diversity & Inclusion

The document “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” became public this week and was the source of heavy debate. Lines such as, “We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs,” and calls to “de-moralize diversity,” express the author’s view on how ideological biases may be clouding the company’s approach to increasing diversity in its workforce.

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