Joy Buolamwini, a prominent scholar of tech harms and biases, has recently released her groundbreaking book titled “Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines.” In this compelling read, she shares her personal journey as she became one of the nation’s leading experts and critics of artificial intelligence (AI).
Buolamwini’s story began during her undergraduate studies at Georgia Tech, where she encountered what she later termed “the coded gaze” — a phenomenon where technological systems failed to recognize her as equal to her white peers due to the color of her skin. However, this bias was not a result of direct malice but rather deeply ingrained prejudice within supposedly impartial systems.
Her book sheds light on the pervasive issue of algorithmic bias, where systems designed and trained primarily on data from white and male individuals result in discrimination against marginalized communities. Facial recognition systems, for instance, consistently struggled to identify Buolamwini’s face but worked seamlessly when she wore a white mask. This realization sparked her curiosity and propelled her to delve deeper into the biases present in various AI technologies.
Throughout her book, Buolamwini addresses pressing concerns related to AI, such as biased data, discriminatory algorithms, and the far-reaching impact of these technologies on our daily lives. Her goal is to educate readers and promote a better understanding of the ethical and social implications of AI.
By sharing her experiences and insights, Buolamwini hopes to inspire change within the tech industry and encourage the development of more inclusive and unbiased AI systems. Her work has already garnered significant recognition, and she recently advised President Biden on AI matters.
“Unmasking AI” provides a digestible guide for both experts and laypeople to comprehend the complex challenges posed by AI and serves as a call to action for those involved in technology to prioritize fairness and inclusivity.
What is algorithmic bias?
Algorithmic bias refers to the inherent prejudice present in AI systems that favor certain groups over others due to biased data or the lack of diverse representation during system design and development.
How has Joy Buolamwini contributed to addressing AI biases?
Joy Buolamwini is a renowned scholar and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, actively working to expose and rectify biases in AI systems. Her research and advocacy have influenced policies and practices in the tech industry.
What is “the coded gaze”?
“The coded gaze” is a term coined by Joy Buolamwini to describe the covert bias ingrained within technological systems that fail to recognize or treat individuals equally based on their race, gender, or other characteristics.
What is the significance of “Unmasking AI”?
“Unmasking AI” highlights the hidden biases in AI systems and explores their impact on society. It provides readers with valuable insights and encourages a broader dialogue about the ethical implications of AI technology.