Survey shows large majority of Americans thinks technology makes biases worse
Seven out of ten people believe that technology does more to amplify biases than diminish them, according to a survey conducted for Fortune’s 2018 Brainstorm Tech conference.
Further, 63 percent of those surveyed think technology is doing more to confirm biases than remove them from decision-making, and 68 percent believe the people who create technology build their own biases into it, rather than the bias being inherent to the technology.
Jon Cohen, Head of Research at SurveyMonkey, which conducted the poll, said it appears to be the first of its kind, as the words “bias” and “technology” do not appear in any major public opinion survey since 1936. GitHub Chief Strategy Officer Julio Avalos, who participated in the roundtable discussion, said that the neutrality of technology is a fallacy, and that companies should see it as an opportunity for improvement, rather than reacting defensively. Code 2040 CEO Karla Monterroso suggested “bias bounties” could be used to identify issues in algorithms, and also that companies could hire more diverse workforces by reducing their preference for graduates of elite universities.
IBM and Microsoft have recently unveiled a massive data set and a bias-detection tool, respectively, to help reduce bias in facial recognition and other AI systems. The issue has drawn headlines and review from legislators ever since MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini showed major differences in accuracy among people with different skin colors.