We tend to think that technology is objective, cold, and dispassionate. But it is not! Technology is built by humans. And we humans are all biased. So, bias is built into our technology. Bias, also, influences the way we USE technology.
This has been proven by research performed by organizations such as the World Economic Forum in their article “Research shows AI is often biased. Here’s how to make algorithms work for all of us”. The article states “Bias represents injustice against a person or a group.
A lot of existing human bias can be transferred to machines because technologies are not neutral; they are only as good, or bad, as the people who develop them.” Even worse, bias infects our decisions on what technology to use and how we use technology. If we don’t begin now to eliminate bias from our technology and the development of new technology the already fractious interactions between institutions and citizens will tear our society apart.
As a solution to this problem, we propose a campaign to #ElliminateBiasInTechnology.
The campaign will drive users and developers to eliminate bias in the use of and the development of technology.
The campaign will guide users and developers through different levels of maturity eliminating bias in technology. Those levels are shown in the figure.
- Pledge: Organizations sign a formal pledge to eliminate bias in their use or development of technology. Make a public statement to this effect and share your logo for display in campaign collateral.
- Planning: Organizations have a formal plan to eliminate bias in their use or development of technology.
- Execution: Organizations are executing their plan to eliminate bias in their use or development of technology.
- Certification: Organizations will have their use of technology or their technology evaluated and certified with respect to the level of bias that exists. The campaign will take the forms shown in the figure below.
- Awareness Raising: Raise awareness of the issue and its solutions. (See current webinars)
- Solution Creation Opportunities: Provide opportunities for users and developers to come together to address the issue. Encourage those in the technology ecosystem to drive bias-free technology. For example, encourage investors and/or philanthropic institutions to predicate funding on at a minimum being at the Pledge level. Perhaps more funding could be made available as the target organization matures in the elimination of bias.
- Assistance: Offer assistance to those who wish to address the issue in either their use or development of technology.
- Certification: Provide an exam structure that verifies the level of bias in the use of technology or in a technology.