Mon. Nov 23rd, 2020
  • Sage urges developers to consider diversity and avoid mistakes of the past as they build the new generation of AI technology
  • Sage Summit taking place in London on April 5th and 6th 2017

Sage, a market leader in cloud accounting software, has today called on technology companies to avoid replicating mistakes of the past by developing AI systems that promote diversity.

Today’s call came from Kriti Sharma, Sage’s VP Bots and AI, during a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where she said:

“The lack of diversity in the AI developer community means that we aren’t getting enough variety in the information which we are inputting to AI machines.  This means that AI systems are working with incomplete data, data which is skewed to the perspectives of the engineers who develop them”.

Sage is asking developer communities to take the initiative to ensure tomorrow’s technology accurately reflects the world in a way which our current work, news and information environments do not. Specifically, it is focusing on:

  • Engineers: Tech companies should continue work being done to increase workforce diversity, in order that AI learns from a broad spectrum of society, and accurately represents the people using it.
  • Data quality: Diverse data inputs will ensure a diverse knowledge base, and reduce bias in the information AI can provide. For example, Wikipedia is a common input source for AI machines, but only 17% of the notable personalities on Wikipedia are female. This kind of bias compromises AI’s ability to inform us in the future.
  • Stereotypes: Many of the virtual assistants developed today use female voices and so tomorrow’s AI should be mindful of gender stereotypes when it comes to bot roles and personalities.  If it isn’t, it will reaffirm today’s gender bias, rather than resolve it.

Kriti Sharma continued: “AI has the potential to provide a paradigm shift for our society.  As developers, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to make sure that the virtual world we are creating is as diverse as possible – ideally an even better world than the one we’ve created for ourselves. Future generations will come to rely on the data we are inputting to systems today, so it’s critical that we open AI up to everyone, irrespective of gender, language or culture.”

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