Robot mixes up mixed races

Microsoft recently put plans in place to replace its human journalists at with robots.

The Story

Shortly after the AI system, provided by Microsoft, presented a story about the pop band Little Mix …. but used the wrong photo. The machine could not accurately identify Jade Thirlwall, it is thought, because she is of mixed race. Instead the machine used a picture of another band member Leigh-Anne Pinnock.
The Guardian itself notes that Thirlwall posted on Instagram:

“@MSN If you’re going to copy and paste articles from other accurate media outlets, you might want to make sure you’re using an image of the correct mixed race member of the group.”

A representative of Microsoft stated,

“As soon as we became aware of this issue, we immediately took action to resolve it and have replaced the incorrect image.”

Our view

AI is not yet mature or accurate enough to be used to replace large groups of skilled people such as journalists. It will make mistakes and these mistakes are most likely going to be related to decisions or actions that are not well represented in their data base or previous training of the AI, such as the identification of mixed race people. The data that the robots are trained on is likely to be not well labelled with regard to mixed race identities therefore are not good at selecting them accurately.

This should be a huge embarrassment for Microsoft.

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