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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

AI Learning Racism, Sexism and Other Prejudices from Humans

Ian Johnston
The Independent
Originally published April 13, 2017

Artificially intelligent robots and devices are being taught to be racist, sexist and otherwise prejudiced by learning from humans, according to new research.

A massive study of millions of words online looked at how closely different terms were to each other in the text – the same way that automatic translators use “machine learning” to establish what language means.

Some of the results were stunning.


“We have demonstrated that word embeddings encode not only stereotyped biases but also other knowledge, such as the visceral pleasantness of flowers or the gender distribution of occupations,” the researchers wrote.

The study also implies that humans may develop prejudices partly because of the language they speak.

“Our work suggests that behaviour can be driven by cultural history embedded in a term’s historic use. Such histories can evidently vary between languages,” the paper said.

The article is here.