SOFTWARE that recognises faces has bounded ahead in recent years, propelled by a boom in a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning (see article). Several firms now offer face recognition as a commercial service, via their respective clouds. The ability to recognise in faces such things as an individual’s sex has improved too, and this is also commercially available.
The algorithms involved have, however, long been suspected of bias. Specifically, they are alleged to be better at processing white faces than those of other people. Until now, that suspicion has been unsupported by evidence. But next week, at Fairness, Accountability and Transparency, a conference in New York, Joy Buolamwini of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will present work which suggests it is true.