Google hopes to fix the racial bias problem in artificial intelligence through tech summer camps

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Participants in the Stanford AI4All program, which is being supported by Google. Image credit: Stanford University

Oakland-based nonprofit AI4All [will] expand its outreach to young underrepresented minorities and women with a $1 million grant from Google.org, the technology giant’s philanthropic arm announced [August 10].

[Artificial intelligence] has been decried for built-in racial bias that can amplify existing stereotypes. That’s particularly worrisome as more companies use it for decisions such as hiring and police leverage artificial intelligence-powered software to identify suspects.

Three years ago, Google apologized after its photo identification software mislabeled black people as gorillas. Microsoft did the same after users quickly found a way to get an artificial intelligence-powered social chatbot to spew racial slurs.

“We need to have people included that are going to be impacted by these technologies, and we also need inclusion to ensure that they’re developed responsibly,” [CEO Tess] Posner said. “Bias happens when we don’t have people asking the right questions from the beginning.”

Related article:  We can’t embrace machine learning in healthcare without ‘serious vetting’ of the underlying data

All of the camps are aimed at high school students who are women, people of color or low income. Part of Google.org’s grant will go towards opening more AI4All camps. The ultimate goal is to use the money to create a free, online AI curriculum course.

In addition to providing summer camps, AI4All offers three-month fellowships where students can develop their own projects and pitch them to AI experts in the industry.

Read full, original post: Artificial intelligence has a racial bias problem. Google is funding summer camps to try to change that

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