How Diversity Can Remove Cultural Bias from AI

How Diversity Can Remove Cultural Bias from AI
26 Novembro 2019    3519

Human beings are naturally predisposed to cultural bias. Found in all human sciences — including economics, psychology, and anthropology — cultural bias is defined as “the process of judging and interpreting phenomena by standards inherent to one’s own cultural preferences or by norms of a particular culture.”

Cultural bias is why in some cultures averting eye contact can be interpreted as being evasive or shy, and in other cultures, a sign of respect. It’s why people born in Argentina likely wear jerseys that honor Lionel Messi unlike their football peers across the Atlantic who revere Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Why soup slurping in Korea is the norm, when it can be considered bad table manners elsewhere. And why we read English text from left to right, whereas other scripts, like Arabic, make sense if read from right to left. Our surrounding environments have a powerful influence on how we see and interact with the world.

But what happens when a major global industry, like computer programming, is dominated by a singular cultural perspective? The U.S. is an international leader in computer programming, yet, according to a recent Stack Overflow survey, 85.5% of computer programmers in the U.S. are male, and the vast majority of those males are white men. Considering that these programmers are creating code at the forefront of AI, does this mean that the experiences and sensibilities of white men will define the future of our digital world and the AI universe? Yes, and no.

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