Is there racial and gender bias in Amazon Rekognition AI?


Reported by the New York Times, new tests of facial recognition technology suggest that Amazon's system has more difficulty identifying the gender of female and darker-skinned faces compared with similar facial recognition technology services provided by IBM and Microsoft. Amazon's Rekognition is a software application that sets out to identify specific facial features by comparing similarities in a large volume of photographs. The study is of importance, given that Amazon has been marketing its facial recognition technology to police departments and federal agencies, presenting the technology as an additional tool to aid those tasked with law enforcement to identify suspects more rapidly. This tendency has been challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (See: "Orlando begins testing Amazon's facial recognition in public"). The new study comes from Inioluwa Deborah Raji (University of Toronto) and Joy Buolamwini (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and it is titled "Actionable Auditing: Investigating the Impact of Publicly Naming Biased Performance Results of Commercial AI Products."

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