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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)

Next Story

Microsoft Interns Make English Learning App

In addition, the app comes with three games that would help the users practice saved words

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

Eight interns from Microsoft’s Garage Intern Team have developed an Android app – Read My World – for people willing to learn the English language.

The app requires and allows users to take a photo to identify an object from a library of over 1,500 vocabulary words, the company wrote in a blog-post on Thursday.

Using syllabification and text-to-speech features, the user can hear and see the spelling of the object as a vocabulary word, then add it to a personal dictionary for practice later.

Microsoft
Logo of Microsoft outside it’s office. Pixabay

The app would let users see the spelling and hear the phonetic pronunciation of identified vocab words.

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Read My World would also give users the option to save photos with corresponding identified word to a personal dictionary for later reference.

In addition, the app comes with three games that would help the users practice saved words. (IANS)