In 2020, Microsoft laid off dozens of newsroom employees and replaced them with AI. Unfortunately, they did not take into account issues with bias in algorithms and the frequent inability of algorithms to tell people of color apart. Shortly after Microsoft’s robot reporters made their debut, the news skimming algorithm published a story to MSN about Jade Thirwell from the band Little Mix and her personal reflections on racism … with a photo of the wrong person. Instead of a photo of Thirwell, the algorithm posted a picture of her bandmate Leigh-Ann Pinnock.
AI’s inability to recognize the faces of people of color is a topic of great concern. In 2021, the documentary Coded Bias followed Joy Buolamwini, a computer scientist at M.I.T. Media Lab after she made the startling discovery that AI facial recognition software could not detect dark skinned faces or recognize women with accuracy.
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