We live in a world that’s increasingly being shaped by complex algorithms and interactive artificial intelligence assistants who help us plot out our days and get from point A to point B.
According to a new Princeton study, though, the engineers responsible for teaching these AI programs things about humans are also teaching them how to be racist, sexist assholes.
The study, published in today’s edition of Science magazine by Aylin Caliskan, Joanna J. Bryson, and Arvind Narayanan, focuses on machine learning, the process by which AI programs begin to think by making associations based on patterns observed in mass quantities of data. In a completely neutral vacuum, this would mean that AI would learn to provide responses based solely on objective, data-driven facts. But because the data sets fed to the AI are selected and influenced by humans, there’s a degree to which certain biases become a part of the AI’s diet.