Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Can Computers Be Racist? The Human-Like Bias Of Algorithms - NPR

by Ari Shapiro
Originally published: March 15, 2016

As algorithms play a growing role in determining content, critics say the results are often filled with biases. Women see ads for lower paying jobs and African-Americans for cheaper neighborhoods.


Can computers be racist and sexist? Well, yes, they can, and that's the topic of this weeks' All Tech Considered.


SHAPIRO: It's a case of garbage in, garbage out. People have biases, so when they write computer programs, those programs can have biases, too. NPR's Laura Sydell is at the South by Southwest Interactive conference where tech experts are talking about that problem.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Jackie Alsina (ph) was at a concert with friends, and he took a bunch of pictures. Later, he loaded them into Google Photos, which stores and automatically organizes images. Its software is able to group together pictures of a particular friend or pictures of dogs together, cats, et cetera. But when it labeled a picture of one of Alsina's friends, it left him speechless. Both he and his friend are African-American.

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