Artificial intelligence under control

By Audrey SomnardMisch PautschLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

Are machines neutral? Artificial intelligence feeds on... human data. With all the biases that our society entails. Here are some explanations.

Algorithms have a way of working. By dint of automating processes and relying more and more on artificial intelligence, we almost forget to take care that the machines do not reproduce our prejudices and the discriminations that dominate our societies. If a racialised person is rejected from a recruitment process by a racist recruiter, can the machine do better? In theory, yes, but it depends on the parameters and data that it has been given beforehand. These are social issues that concern professionals in the sector as well as activists who campaign for more control. Oyidiya Oji is one of them. She was recently in Luxembourg to give a conference organised by Lëtz Rise Up entitled "Discrimination based on artificial intelligence: what should we do about it?

The latter is not from the tech world, but she quickly became interested in the topic: "In January 2020, I left my job and, at that time, I was listening to a podcast about technology that said we need more people of colour in this sector. I then thought maybe I should do something different because I have a business background." So she took a data science bootcamp to learn the basics of programming. And to find out what was going on in the sector. "I started reading that in the US, for example, driverless cars were crashing or more likely to crash into women, especially if they were women of colour or people with some kind of disability, because the car can't see darker skin. In this case, because the engineers are often men, they think, sure, it works. But it works for them. Some people. I also saw a video of a man in a hotel who was just trying to reach under the soap dispenser. It didn't work. So he took a piece of white paper. And then it worked."

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On shaky grounds