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Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomeAcademicAI Biases - Their Effects with Real-world cases

AI Biases – Their Effects with Real-world cases

Back After a long.. Today, I’m back with a journey to unravel the intricacies of biases in one of the trending topics, artificial intelligence (AI)!

I had no idea that watching the most recent episode of “Ani Aba with Dr. Bibek Paudel and Sudheer Sharma” would take me on a thought-provoking journey through the complex realm of artificial intelligence (AI) biases. The show, which was hosted by Sudheer Sharma and covered a range of topics related to AI’s effects on society, made me wonder about the prejudices that these advanced systems may be harboring. Motivated by the insightful discussion, I set out to explore the subtleties of artificial intelligence biases and their practical applications.

From personalized recommendations on streaming platforms to automated decision-making in critical sectors like healthcare and finance, AI algorithms are becoming omnipresent.

As we delve deeper into the world of AI, it’s essential to understand what biases in AI actually is.

Biases in AIrefer to systematic errors or prejudices that are embedded within algorithms, resulting in unfair or discriminatory outcomes. The data used to train the algorithms, the design decisions made throughout the development process, and even the innate biases of the people involved in designing the AI systems can all be sources of these biases.

Understanding the Impact

Biased AI algorithms may have far-reaching and significant effects that have an array of effects on people and communities. Prejudiced algorithms have the potential to worsen already-existing injustices and discrimination, which can result in various consequences like:

Unfair Treatment: People or groups may be treated unfairly by biased algorithms on the basis of racial, gendered, ethnic, or socioeconomic status.

Reinforcement of Stereotypes: AI systems that use skewed data run the risk of perpetuating negative stereotypes, which would further marginalize communities that are already marginalized.

Lack of Accountability: Because biased algorithms can obfuscate the decision-making process, it might be challenging to hold those responsible for discriminating results accountable.

Examples of Biases in AI

Example 1: Soap Dispenser Not Pouring Soap for Black Skin (Racial Bias)

A soap dispenser that worked flawlessly when used by a light-skinned hand failed to pour soap when a dark-skinned hand was placed under it, according to a video that went viral in 2015. This incident exposed the racial bias ingrained in the soap dispenser’s sensor technology, which was probably tested and calibrated mostly on lighter skin tones, making it incapable of identifying darker skin tones.

The soap dispenser that was unable to identify dark skin tones is among the most well-known instances of AI biases. In this case, people with darker skin couldn’t activate the soap dispenser’s sensor, which kept them from getting soap. People with lighter skin tones, on the other hand, did not encounter any such issues, demonstrating an obvious instance of racial prejudice in the AI-powered device’s design.

Example 2: Biased Hiring Algorithms (Gender Bias)

Several studies have shown that hiring procedures made easier by AI technology exhibit gender biases. In one study, for example, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University discovered that a popular AI recruiting tool systematically ranked male applications higher than equally competent female candidates, displaying bias against female candidates. This bias resulted from the gender differences that were common in earlier hiring decisions reflected in the historical data that was utilized to train the algorithm.

For example, algorithms trained on past recruiting data may unintentionally pick up on and reinforce biases in the data, which could lead to unfair outcomes for job candidates based on age, gender, or race.

Example 3: Predictive Policing (Predictive policing bias)

In predictive policing, police resources are distributed based on algorithms that examine past crime data to predict future criminal behavior. These algorithms, nonetheless, have come under fire for maintaining the racial biases present in law enforcement procedures. An AI-powered risk assessment tool used in criminal justice systems, for instance, was shown to be biased against black defendants, falsely classifying them as more risk than white defendants with comparable backgrounds, according to a ProPublica study. People from minority communities were treated disproportionately worse as a result of this biased algorithm.

Algorithms used in predictive policing, which estimate criminal behavior and distribute law enforcement resources appropriately, have come under fire for encouraging racial profiling and excessive police in underprivileged areas. These algorithms frequently use skewed past crime data, which causes certain demographic groups to be disproportionately monitored.

Addressing Bias in AI

It will need a coordinated effort from many stakeholders, including engineers, ethicists, and policymakers, to address biases in AI. Among the methods for reducing bias in AI are:

  • Diverse and Representative Data: Ensuring that training data used to develop AI algorithms is diverse, representative, and free from biases.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Promoting transparency in AI development processes and establishing mechanisms for accountability and oversight.
  • Ethical Considerations: Incorporating ethical considerations into the design, development, and deployment of AI systems to minimize potential harms and promote fairness and equity.

Biases in artificial intelligence provide a serious problem that must be addressed with caution and proactively. We may strive toward developing AI systems that are more egalitarian, inclusive, and representative of our diverse society by increasing awareness, encouraging cooperation, and giving ethical considerations first priority. Let’s make sure that, as we continue to use AI to spur innovation and advancement, we do so in a way that upholds morality and justice for all.

For more thought-provoking articles on ethics, technology, and AI, keep checking back to We can create a more just and better future if we work together.

The author of this blog post is a technology fellow, an IT entrepreneur, and Educator in Kathmandu Nepal. With his keen interest in Data Science and Business Intelligence, he writes on random topics occasionally in the DataSagar blog.
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