Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

  • Miguel Porlan
  • Intelligent Machines

    The Dangers of Tech-Bro AI

    Tabitha Goldstaub, a cofounder of CognitionX, which helps companies deploy AI, says that diversifying the field is necessary to make sure products actually work well.

    • October 24, 2017

    If you think about artificial intelligence and the core components of what makes an AI, you have the fact that it’s given a goal and then will find a way to reach that goal. It’s then often very un-transparent as to how it reached that goal. If you’re building into a machine some unconscious bias, you might not know that it’s there; the output could be detrimental to women and it’s very tough to work out exactly why that has happened.

    In traditional technology, you can see [what has happened]: women dying in car crashes because the crash-test dummies were the shape of a man rather than the shape of a woman. [With AI there could be] similar life-or-death situations, in drug trials or in autonomous vehicles and things like that.

    There are some examples of [gender bias in AI today]: Google ads displaying higher-earning [job] ads to men than women. We can hypothesize other types of situations that would happen—what if women weren’t as able to get loans or mortgages or insurance?

    This story is part of our November/December 2017 Issue
    See the rest of the issue
    Subscribe

    I don’t have a dystopian view of AI. I don’t see killer robots. I’m so much more focused on the narrow applications, and I think that if you look at every single one of those narrow applications there is a chance that it negatively affects women. I don’t think artificial intelligence is the issue here; it’s the additional issue rather than the cause. We’re talking about the risk that our unconscious sexism or unconscious racism seep into the machines that we’re building.

    How do we get anyone who’s building AI to think about these things? We need to have consumers demand ethical AI. Not enough people are seeing this as more than just a gender issue; this is an actual, fundamental product issue.

    as told to Rachel Metz

    Couldn't make it to Cambridge? We've brought EmTech MIT to you!

    Watch session videos

    Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

    Insider Premium
    $179.95/yr US PRICE

    More from Intelligent Machines

    Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

    Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
    • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

      {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

      Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

      See details+

      What's Included

      Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

      The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

      Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

      Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

      Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

      Special interest publications

      Discount to MIT Technology Review events

      Special discounts to select partner offerings

      Ad-free web experience

    /
    You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.