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Woman + Man = Person: Google AI Would Stop Identifying Genders In Photos

Google’s photo identifying artificial intelligence (AI) tech will stop labeling genders in photos. This means that instead of labeling genders, Google’s AI will just refer to them as ‘Person’.


According to a Business Insider report, Google had sent an email to that effect telling developers about this new change. Although it is not clear when this will take effect, The Next Web revealed that it will first come to Google Cloud’s Vision API.


This is likely because developers use it to add labels to images and then classify them into predefined categories. Google explained that there are two reasons for its decision.


One is that it is not possible to accurately determine a person’s gender based on their physical appearance alone.

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Many see Its second reason as more political. Google explains that the algorithm the AI uses to identify gender creates unfair biases. As the above-referenced article revealed:


“… algorithms trained on a deliberately-biased dataset of cooking-related images, in which women were 33% more likely to appear, became 68% more likely to predict a woman was cooking — even when the image was of a balding man in a kitchen.”


Also, there is the issue of misgendering trans and non-binary persons when observed from a physical perspective.


Analytics India Mag mentioned that in 2015, a software engineer said that Google Photos’ image recognition model identified his black friends as gorillas. Although Google changed the algorithm and blocked the model from recognising gorillas, it had been using the technology to tag people.


These kinds of inaccuracies can be misguiding as well as cause discrimination. Thus Google’s AI will stop gendering people’s photos. A linguist and programmer Angus B. Grieve-Smith had explained on Twitter:


“Anytime you automatically classify people, whether that’s their gender or their s*xual orientation, you need to decide on which categories you use in the first place — and this comes with lots of assumptions.”


Meanwhile, many tech executives have called for the regulation of AI in recent times. One of such persons is Elon Musk, who had said that artificial intelligence tech must be regulated somehow.


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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.

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