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Last Week in AI #71

AI bias, Flawed face recognition leads to wrongful arrest, and more!

Last Week in AI #71

Image credit: @Chicken3gg via Twitter

Mini Briefs

AI Weekly: A deep learning pioneer’s teachable moment on AI bias

Researchers recently released a computer vision algorithm capable of realistically upsampling, or “deblurring,” photos of human faces. Others soon realized that the model produces predominantly White faces, even if the input is a low-resolution photo of a person of color. Yann LeCun, a renowned machine learning researcher and Turing award winner, commented on Twitter that the source of this bias lies with the training dataset alone. This sparked a fierce debate on Twitter, where many pointed out that the root of such bias extends far beyond datasets in the field of AI, where a lack of diverse teams and awareness of social contexts all contribute to the problem.

Timnit Gebru, an AI ethics researcher and a co-author on the Gender Shades study, summarizes in her talk at an AI fairness workshop:

Fairness is not just about data sets, and it’s not just about math. Fairness is about society as well, and as engineers, as scientists, we can’t really shy away from that fact.

Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm

Earlier this year, the Detroit Police Department wrongfully arrested a Black man because of an incorrect match from a face recognition system. This may be the “first known case of its kind,” where a flawed face recognition system led to the arrest of someone who did not commit the crime.

Commercial face recognition systems often perform poorly on people of color. The companies that provide these technologies disclaim that their face matches are only “investigative leads,” not “probable causes for arrest.” Still, “Mr. Williams’s case combines flawed technology with poor police work, illustrating how facial recognition can go awry.”


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Advances & Business

Concerns & Hype

Analysis & Policy

  • A new US bill would ban the police use of facial recognition - US Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban the use of facial recognition technology by federal law enforcement agencies. Specifically, it would make it illegal for any federal agency or official to “acquire, possess, access, or use” biometric surveillance technology in the US.

  • Trump’s freeze on new visas could threaten US dominance in AI - The president’s executive order to temporarily suspend H-1B visas exacerbates the US’s precarious position in the global competition for AI talent. Even before president Trump’s executive order on June 22, the US was already bucking global tech immigration trends.

Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field

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