February 25, 2024

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Artificial Intelligence Can Help Combat Systemic Bias

Facial recognition algorithms – which have repeatedly been demonstrated to be less accurate for people with darker skin – are just one example of how racial bias gets replicated within and perpetuated by emerging technologies. There’s an urgency as AI is used to make really high-stakes decisions. The stakes are higher because new systems can replicate historical biases at scale. One of the fundamental questions of the work is: how to build AI models that deal with systemic inequality more effectively?

Inequality is perpetuated by technology in many ways across many sectors. One broad domain is health care. The demand for mental health care, for example, far outstrips the capacity for services in the United States. That demand has been exacerbated by the pandemic, and access to care is harder for communities of colour.

Taking the bias out of the algorithm is just one component of building more ethical AI. The researchers work also to develop tools and platforms that can address inequality outside of tech head-on. In the case of mental health access, this entails developing a tool to help mental health providers deliver care more efficiently. They are building a real-time data collection platform that looks at activities and behaviours and tries to identify patterns and contexts in which certain mental states emerge. The goal is to provide data-informed insights to care providers in order to deliver higher-impact services.

Watkins, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the founding director of the Institute for Media Innovation has joined the newly launched Initiative on Combatting Systemic Racism (ICSR), an IDSS research collaboration that brings together faculty and researchers from the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing and beyond. The aim of the ICSR is to develop and harness computational tools that can help effect structural and normative change toward racial equity.

The ICSR collaboration has separate project teams researching systemic racism in different sectors of society, including health care. Each of these verticals addresses different but interconnected issues, from sustainability to employment to gaming. Watkins is a part of two ICSR groups, policing and housing, that aim to better understand the processes that lead to discriminatory practices in both sectors. Discrimination in housing contributes significantly to the racial wealth gap in the U.S.

Models can also predict outcomes, but Watkins is careful to point out that no algorithm alone will solve racial challenges. Models can inform policy and strategy that we as humans have to create. Computational models can inform and generate knowledge, but that doesn’t equate with change. It takes additional work—and additional expertise in policy and advocacy—to use knowledge and insights to strive toward progress.

One important lever of change will be building a more AI-literate society through access to information and opportunities to understand AI and its impact in a more dynamic way. He hopes to see greater data rights and a greater understanding of how societal systems impact lives.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, creating smarter, more accurate systems requires a hybrid human-machine approach, according to researchers at the University of California, Irvine. In a study published this month in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they present a new mathematical model that can improve performance by combining human and algorithmic predictions and confidence scores.

To test the framework, researchers conducted an image classification experiment in which human participants and computer algorithms worked separately to correctly identify distorted pictures of animals and everyday items—chairs, bottles, bicycles, trucks. The human participants ranked their confidence in the accuracy of each image identification as low, medium or high, while the machine classifier generated a continuous score. The results showed large differences in confidence between humans and AI algorithms across images.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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