We all know that sexism is real. Be it in the workplace or everyday life, women often have to deal with daily microagressions.
And now it turns out that we can’t even trust technology to be fair, because it’s been revealed that Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence tool that was being tried and tested to recruit staff, has had to be scrapped because it taught itself to be biased against women.
BBC.com reports that the idea behind the tool was to test and review candidates applications and rate them according to a score ranging from one to five.
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The tool wasn’t only designed to help seek the perfect candidate, but it was also meant to help streamline the hiring process.
A source revealed that they company literally wanted an engine that could analyse hundreds of CVs and “spit out the top five,” Bustle.com reports.
What they didn’t realise is that women were being penalised far more than men.
The tool was developed in 2014, but by 2015 the team discovered that there definitely was gender-bias when it came to determining the top candidates, and that was due to the fact that most of the candidates that were submitting were men.
And although the system was apparently tested and made neutral to gender terms, it turns out that it wasn’t reliable. Slate magazine adds that one of the biggest problems was that the tool was trained to pick up on previous terms that came from successful applicants.
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No surprise that many of the candidates were men. And while no one is dismissing the merits of the applicant, it’s clear that the problem lies deeper here.
According to BBC.com, Amazon’s workforce is skewed in favour of men.
Bustle.com also reports that the tech industry still has a long way to go when it comes to hiring more women in tech roles, since according to a report from 2016, women are only filling 25% of roles in the computing sector.
So perhaps if there were more balance in the industry, then AI tools like these could actually serve companies in a way that makes the application process more streamlined.
Until then, if we don’t fix the gender discrepancies in the workplace industry – especially in tech – then perhaps we’re better off sorting through CVs manually.
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