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Artificial intelligence can discriminate on the basis of race and gender, and also age

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We have accepted the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in complex processes -- from health care to our daily use of social media -- often without critical investigation, until it is too late. The use of AI is inescapable in our modern society, and it may perpetuate discrimination without its users being aware of any prejudice. When health-care providers rely on biased technology, there are real and harmful impacts. This became clear recently when a study showed that pulse oximeters -- which measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and have been an essential tool for clinical management of COVID-19 -- are less accurate on people with darker skin than lighter skin. The findings resulted in a sweeping racial bias review now underway, in an attempt to create international standards for testing medical devices.


Oh great -- AI can not only be racist and sexist, but ageist too

#artificialintelligence

We have accepted the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in complex processes -- from health care to our daily use of social media -- often without critical investigation, until it is too late. The use of AI is inescapable in our modern society, and it may perpetuate discrimination without its users being aware of any prejudice. When health-care providers rely on biased technology, there are real and harmful impacts. This became clear recently when a study showed that pulse oximeters -- which measure the amount of oxygen in the blood and have been an essential tool for clinical management of COVID-19 -- are less accurate on people with darker skin than lighter skin. The findings resulted in a sweeping racial bias review now underway, in an attempt to create international standards for testing medical devices.


Is AI ageist? Researchers examine impact of technology on older users

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Researchers from the University of Toronto and University of Cambridge are looking into the ways ageism – prejudice against individuals based on age – can be encoded into technologies such as artificial intelligence, which many of us now encounter daily. This age-related bias in AI, also referred to as "digital ageism," is explored in a new paper led by Charlene Chu, an affiliate scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute's KITE research arm, part of the University Health Network (UHN), and an assistant professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing. The paper was recently published in The Gerontologist, the leading journal of gerontology. "The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened our awareness of how dependent our society is on technology," says Chu says. "Huge numbers of older adults are turning to technology in their daily lives which has created a sense of urgency for researchers to try to understand digital ageism, and the risks and harms associated with AI biases."


WHO highlights benefits and dangers of artificial intelligence for older people

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In a new policy brief, Ageism in artificial intelligence for health, the agency presents legal, non-legal and technical measures that can be used to minimize the risk of exacerbating or introducing ageism through AI. Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing many fields, including public health and medicine for older people. The technology can help predict health risks and events, enable drug development, support the personalization of care management, and much more. If left unchecked, AI technologies may perpetuate existing ageism in society and undermine the quality of health and social care that older people receive. The data used can be unrepresentative of older people or skewed by past ageist stereotypes, prejudice or discrimination.


Ensuring artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for health benefit older people

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 Geneva: Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the potential to improve older people’s health and well-being, but only if ageism is eliminated from their design, implementation, and use. A new policy brief, Ageism in artificial intelligence for health, released today by the World Health Organization (WHO) presents legal, non-legal and technical measures that can be used to minimize the risk of exacerbating or introducing ageism through these technologies.Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are revolutionizing many fields including public health and medicine for older people where they can help predict health risks and events, enable drug development, support the personalization of care management, and much more.There are concerns, however, that, if left unchecked, AI technologies may perpetuate existing ageism in society and undermine the quality of health and social care that older people receive. The data used by AI can be unrepresentative of older people or skewed by past ageist stereotypes, prejudice or discrimination. Flawed assumptions of how older people wish to live or interact with technology in their daily lives can also limit the design and reach of these technologies, and the way AI technologies are used can reduce intergenerational contact or deepen existing barriers to digital access.“The implicit and explicit biases of society, including around age, are often replicated in AI technologies,” notes Alana Officer, Unit Head, Demographic Change and Healthy Ageing, WHO. “To ensure that AI technologies play a beneficial role, ageism must be identified and eliminated from their design, development, use and evaluation. This new policy brief shows how.”The following eight considerations could ensure that AI technologies for health address ageism and that older people are fully involved in the processes, systems, technologies and services that affect them.Participatory design of AI technologies by and with older peopleAge-diverse data science teamsAge-inclusive data collectionInvestments in digital infrastructure and digital literacy for older people and their health-care providers and caregiversRights of older people to consent and contestGovernance frameworks and regulations to empower and work with older peopleIncreased research to understand new uses of AI and how to avoid biasRobust ethics processes in the development and application of AIThe policy brief aligns with the messages of the Global report on ageism which serves as the basis for the Global Campaign to Combat Ageism. Produced by WHO in collaboration with OHCHR, UNDESA and UNFPA and launched in March 2021, the Global report on ageism notes that ageism is both highly prevalent and harmful but can be eliminated. As a first of its kind, the report describes the far-reaching impacts that ageism has on all aspects of health and well-being and on economies and signals a clear need to invest in three proven strategies: policy and law, educational activities, and intergenerational interventions. It also highlights the need to improve data and research on ageism and change the narrative around age and ageing to create #AWorld4AllAges. Download the new policy brief here.