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Building AI Without Women Will Lead to Biased Results: Microsoft

Members of the team working on the system said it effectively taught itself that male candidates were preferable

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes the buzz of the town, building AI-based solutions without the inclusion of women would give way to a technology that is inherently biased, a top Microsoft executive said on Friday.

According to the “World Economic Report 2018”, only 22 per cent of AI professionals globally are female while almost a third (32 per cent) believe that gender bias is still a major hurdle in the recruitment process in the industry.

“If AI systems are built only by one representative group such as all male, all Asian or all Caucasian, then they are more likely to create biased results,” Mythreyee Ganapathy, Director, Programme Management, Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft, told IANS.

Data sets that will be used to train AI models need to be assembled by a diverse group of data engineers.

“A simple example is data sets that are used to train speech AI models which focus primarily on adult speech samples unintentionally exclude children and hence the models are unable to recognise children’s voices,” Ganapathy added.

India is at the 108th spot in the gender gap index, according to the “World Economic Forum 2018” report. It also has one of the lowest participation rates of women in the labour market at 27 per cent.

There has been a spurt in the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across industries in India and cloud infrastructure and rapid deployment of intelligent Cloud services will further drive AI adoption in the country, Microsoft India said on Wednesday.
Pixabay

A different set of people should be included to increase the diversity of AI teams as more than half (52 per cent) women globally, perceive the tech sector to be a “male” industry, the report adds.

To balance the gender gap in the country, the tech giant promotes the study of computer science at traditionally female colleges and other universities.

“We believe that attracting, developing and helping women in STEM fields is vital to ensuring a well-rounded, inclusive society without which we risk having hundreds of thousands of jobs left unfilled and decades of innovation absent of female perspectives,” the Microsoft executive noted.

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Corporate and academic AI teams have inadvertently made systems biased against women.

For example, tech giant Amazon’s ML experts scrapped a “sexist” AI recruiting tool in October 2018 after they discovered the recruiting engine “did not like women”.

Members of the team working on the system said it effectively taught itself that male candidates were preferable. (IANS)

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The First All-Women Spacewalk is Set to Take Place This Week: NASA

According to NASA, The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours

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The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA. Pixabay

The first all-woman spacewalk is set to take place this week itself as NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are scheduled to venture outside the International Space Station (ISS) on October 17 or October 18.

The spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA.

“@Space_Station update: our first all-female spacewalk with @Astro_Christina and @Astro_Jessica will be Thursday or Friday to replace a faulty battery charge-discharge unit,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted on Tuesday.

Station managers decided to postpone previously planned spacewalks that had been set to install new batteries this week and next in order to replace the faulty power unit, called a Battery Charge/Discharge Unit (BCDU).

The BCDU failed to activate following the October 11 installation of new lithium-ion batteries on the space station’s truss.

Spacewalk
The Spacewalk will last approximately six and a half hours, according to NASA. Pixabay

NASA said that the BCDU failure has not impacted station operations, safety of the crew, or the ongoing experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory, many in preparation for future human missions to the Moon and Mars.

However, the failed power unit does prevent a new lithium-ion battery installed earlier this month from providing additional station power.

An all-woman spacewalk, involving Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, was originally scheduled for March.

But that spacewalk was scuttled because properly fitted spacesuits could not be readied in time for both astronauts, Space.com reported.

Spacewalk
An all-woman Spacewalk, involving Koch and NASA astronaut Anne McClain, was originally scheduled for March. Pixabay

So far, the 15 women who have conducted a spacewalk did so with a male companion. So when Koch and Meir venture out of the space station this week, they will make some long-overdue history.

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This will be Koch’s fourth spacewalk and Meir’s first. (IANS)