Humans develop biases over time. We aren’t born with them. However, examples of gender, economic, occupational and racial bias exist in communities, industries and social contexts around the world. And while there are people leading initiatives to fundamentally change these phenomena in the physical world, it persists and manifests in new ways in the digital world.
In the tech world, bias permeates everything from startup culture to investment pitches during funding rounds to the technology itself. Innovations with world-changing potential don’t get necessary funding or are completely overlooked, because of the demographic makeup or gender of their founders. People with non-traditional and extracurricular experiences that qualify them for coding jobs are being screened out of the recruitment process due to their varied backgrounds.
Now, I fear we’re headed down a similar path with Artificial Intelligence. AI technologies on the market are beginning to display intentional and unintentional biases – from talent search technology that groups candidate resumes by demographics or background to insensitive auto-fill search algorithms.