News  |    |  August 21, 2017

Machines Taught by Photos Learn a Sexist View of Women

By Tom Simonite.
Published in Wired Magazine.

Excerpt:

Last Fall University of Virginia computer science professor Vicente Ordóñez noticed a pattern in some of the guesses made by image-recognition software he was building. “It would see a picture of a kitchen and more often than not associate it with women, not men,” he says. That got Ordóñez wondering whether he and other researchers were unconsciously injecting biases into their software. So he teamed up with colleagues to test two large collections of labeled photos used to “train” image-recognition software. Their results are illuminating. Two prominent research-image collections—including one supported by Microsoft and Facebook—display a predictable gender bias in their depiction of activities such as cooking and sports. Images of shopping and washing are linked to women, for example, while coaching and shooting are tied to men. [ . . . ]