According to a recent article at the npr with the title: “Artificial intelligence was asked to create images of Black African docs treating white kids. How’d it go?”, some logical questions brought to my mind as: Why Al reproduces racism? Why AI is a representative of new technology, of a new way of thinking and at the same time increases outdated social status? Why do we continue tolerating the reproduction of racism?
In that article, the research specifies the fact that AI was asked to produce images of african doctors aiding white kids, images that differ from the common online database. However, AI gave 22 of over 250 images with the opposite pattern, white doctors treating african kids. Some may claim that 22 is not a big number and maybe it is not even a big deal to feel worried about that fact. We should focus on the general condition. We asked AI to produce something very specific but if we have already “fed” the internet with a concrete way of thinking, then is even useless. Al does not and will not have the same state of mind as human beings. Nevertheless, it is our creation and we have the duty to be neutral and ready to understand that we are all equal and that we should have the same opportunities.
In addition, researchers asked Al to give them images with people suffering from HIV. “Out of 150 images of HIV patients, 148 were black and two were white”. In this case, no one could use the argument of the majority. It is obvious that AI, the internet and many people have combined african people with diseases. The problem is not in the statistics but in the fact that Al does not need more information in order to produce the images, but it just uses the data that are already online. Furthermore, another statement that needs further discussion is that AI was asked to give photos of “traditional african healers helping white kids”. The results were not as expected because 25 of 152 results showed white men wearing african clothing with colours of the African flags. It is a result that exempts the skin colour and focuses on traditional characteristics such as the clothes and the accessories of the doctors.
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In general, Al is a form of new technology that was “constructed” to help more people with their everyday lives or even for investigation. As Wikipidea mentions: “Artificial intelligence (AI) is the intelligence of machines or software, as opposed to the intelligence of humans or animals”. According to the previous sentence, it is obvious that Al is the result of our intelligence and our history that has been uploaded in the online database for so many years. We should not give the center of attention at the fact that it reproduces racist patterns, but on why we have given it the right to have this specific information about what the majority calls ”logical” in our society. It is our society, our home and almost no one wants into her/his home stereotypes and states of mind that hold them back. White supremacy, white privilege are just some of the terms that should be a part of our past, a part that all have learnt from it and concentrate on establishing the present and use the past as base in order for everyone to evolve.
To recapitulate, the issue is connected with stereotypes that the majority has consolidated in the society as a common law. Our comfort zone comprises what we have been used to being surrounded with things that are familiar to us. But only to us. We should leave from our own space and expand our knowledge to the general world. These stereotypes only make us obsolete and our society a place of backwardness and only the reproduction of intolerant ideas. From the previous years, we have been thinking of the fact that the future will be the solution, the reason that “outdated” minds will rethink and maybe even change their perspective. The “right” feeling is not disappointment but worriness for our progress and everyone should rethink the root causes of the current social issues in order to find the solutions for them. Technology has already offered us a lot, nevertheless the problem is centered around the use of the acquired knowledge.
Author: Ελένη Τζέλιου