In Rebecca Heilweil’s article, “Why algorithms can be racist and sexist”, she presents various issues stemming from the algorithmic bias present in our daily lives. She notes that although many of us are unaware of how algorithms are built or how they even work, we often will only ever know the end result when we see how it has affected us. Furthermore, it’s important to understand the fact that algorithms are based on numerous amounts and types of data extracted from computers.
Among the numerous consequences of algorithmic bias, ideas of racism and sexism prevail because of how systems of artificial intelligence (AI) extract data from the internet and its billions of users. In a study, it was found that prejudices against black people and women were presented by AI. It’s also important to note that Amazon’s resume-screening tool used AI to create an algorithm solely based on resumes collected from men. Therefore, discrimination against women was produced by the AI system. I was appalled by this because it emphasizes how much algorithms can be biased and harmful.
I personally find myself relying on the internet for (possibly too much) information, but with the growing prevalence of the use of AI systems, it’s a bit frightening to ponder the implications of it, even if they seem subtle at the moment. Heilweil argues for transparency because so many internet users have no idea how these systems work and therefore can’t fully comprehend their consequences. After gaining a better understanding from this article, I am now more skeptical of the information I receive. From this, I think it’s important to take a step back and reflect on the information we’re receiving and think about how it may be biased before letting it immediately affect us.