What happens when you put the words “CEO”, “business person” and “company director” into an AI image generator?
You get thousands of pictures of white men back.
AI image generators are the latest hot trend coming out of Silicon Valley.
Techies, artists, creatives and marketers across the world are all jumping on board.
However, innovation agency Forever Beta realised there was a hugely worrying issue festering deep within this new emerging technology.
Many of the searches were returning exceptionally negatively biased images towards minority communities.
For example, when putting the words “leader”, employer” and “boss” into a popular AI image generator, the majority of images served are of white men.
Similarly, when you input “city worker”, “business owner” and “professional” in the same generator, another sea of white males is delivered.
To raise awareness of, begin a conversation around and offer some solutions to this emerging and potentially dangerous issue, Forever Beta has teamed up with Included, a global impact-led diversity and inclusion consultancy founded by Stephen Frost, former head of diversity and inclusion (D&I) for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to create a print, poster and social campaign.
The set of posters use actual images created by AI that place the text used to create them on top of that image, clearly showing the bias inherent within the generators. In between these are provocative statements such as:
The machine is just learning what we teach.
A machine can create images, only we can create change.
Machine See. Machine Do.
Only we can create change.
Raafi-Karim Alidina, consulting manager, data and product lead at Included, said: “Increasingly, technology, AI, machine learning, and complex algorithms are part of how the world is run and how we operate in the new world of work.
It’s a common misconception that these machines will not be biased. They’re actually as biased as the people who built them.
"We will all naturally have an unconscious bias as humans and therefore will include this into how we build technology, especially if the technology development team is not diverse or inclusive. As we use this technology more and more, we will see a greater impact through people not being able to access technology in the same way and through stereotypes being entrenched such as what we have seen in the AI-created imagery.
“Proactive inclusion is a key way to address this issue. In Included’s work with Tech Nation, increasing the company’s own understanding of diversity and inclusion was key. We ran internal Inclusive Leadership Labs around the UK and then co-created an incubator for tech start-ups to access D&I training free of charge. As a result, largely male tech start-ups started to consider D&I in their scale plans for the first time.”
Paulo Areas, chief creative officer at Forever Beta, said: “As with any other new technology, there is a lot of excitement around AI image creators, which is understandable because it is indeed an amazing and revolutionary tool. But as with any other tool we need to understand what lies behind the cover, to unlock its full potential. The question is, what can this technology do to make things better? Finding the link between AI and unconscious Bias is one example, but there is so much more to learn as the technology evolves, that will help us shape it into something even more exciting.”
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