Twitter’s photo-cropping AI likes to show people that are young, slim, and ‘pretty’
The company’s AI mirrors a lot of societal biases we have established in the world.
A few months ago, Twitter abandoned its AI-driven photo cropping software after it was found to have some pretty significant racial biases built into it. Since then, the company has been running a bug bounty competition where users can try and find out more information on the AI’s internal bias.
The results of the competition have been presented, and they seem to confirm earlier findings of racial bias. But racial bias isn’t the only kind of bias found by users during the competition. Researchers also found several other areas where Twitter’s AI would prefer one thing over another.
The competition’s first-place entry found that Twitter’s photo cropping algorithm was not only racially biased, it also tends to prefer images of younger, slimmer individuals that we qualify in society as beautiful. Another entry found that the software preferred English lettering over Arabic.
These are certainly some pretty shocking findings. Societal biases like this have existed for a while, but it is somewhat disheartening to see them replicated in AI software that most of us use on a daily basis. But this program and competition bring with them a little hope that there could be a solution.
The competition itself was a wonderful strategy from Twitter. The ability to identify a problem and call on third-party users to help reveal potential other issues seems like a great approach.
The company’s AI is seriously flawed, but by putting on this competition, Twitter has shown that it is dedicated to identifying and fixing any biases in its system.
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