Only if we focus on the right things.
Eminent industry leaders worry that the biggest risk tied to artificial intelligence is the militaristic downfall of humanity. But there’s a smaller community of people committed to addressing two more tangible risks: AI created with harmful biases built into its core, and AI that does not reflect the diversity of the users it serves. I am proud to be part of the second group of concerned practitioners. And I would argue that not addressing the issues of bias and diversity could lead to a different kind of weaponized AI.
The good news is that AI is an opportunity to build technology with less human bias and built-in inequality than has been the case in previous innovations. But that will only happen if we expand AI talent pools and explicitly test AI-driven technologies for bias.
Eliminating Biases in AI: The People
Technology inevitably reflects its creators in a myriad of ways, conscious and unconscious. The tech industry remains very male and fairly culturally homogeneous. This lack of diversity is reflected in the products it produces. For instance, AI assistants like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, which have default female names, voices, and personas, are largely seen as helpful or passive supporters of a user’s lifestyle.