Today we keep the 2019 AI Rewind series rolling with friend-of-the-show Timnit Gebru, a research scientist on the Ethical AI team at Google. A few weeks ago at NeurIPS, Timnit joined us to discuss the ethics and fairness landscape in 2019. In our conversation, we discuss diversification of NeurIPS, with groups like Black in AI, WiML and others taking huge steps forward, trends in the fairness community, quite a few papers, and much more. We want to hear from you! Send your thoughts on the year that was 2019 below in the comments, or via twitter @samcharrington or @twimlai. The complete show notes for this episode can be found at Check out the rest of the series at!
Automated decision making tools are currently used in high stakes scenarios. From natural language processing tools used to automatically determine one’s suitability for a job, to health diagnostic systems trained to determine a patient’s outcome, machine learning models are used to make decisions that can have serious consequences on people’s lives. In spite of the consequential nature of these use cases, vendors of such models are not required to perform specific tests showing the suitability of their models for a given task. Nor are they required to provide documentation describing the characteristics of their models, or disclose the results of algorithmic audits to ensure that certain groups are not unfairly treated. I will show some examples to examine the dire consequences of basing decisions entirely on machine learning based systems, and discuss recent work on auditing and exposing the gender and skin tone bias found in commercial gender classification systems. I will end with the concept of an AI datasheet to standardize information for datasets and pre-trained models, in order to push the field as a whole towards transparency and accountability. About: Databricks provides a unified data analytics platform, powered by Apache Spark™, that accelerates innovation by unifying data science, engineering and business. Read more here: Connect with us: Website: Facebook: Twitter: LinkedIn: Instagram:
Original post: This week, we dive into machine learning bias and fairness from a social and technical perspective with machine learning research scientists Timnit Gebru from Microsoft and Margaret Mitchell (aka Meg, aka M.) from Google. They share with Melanie and Mark about ongoing efforts and resources to address bias and fairness including diversifying datasets, applying algorithmic techniques and expanding research team expertise and perspectives. There is not a simple solution to the challenge, and they give insights on what work in the broader community is in progress and where it is going.
Timnit Gebru, Stanford Alum and Co-Founder of Black in AI, shares remarkable insights to show how artificial intelligence is influencing thinking and decision-making in ways we didn’t imagine and must counter before it further marginalizes people. Timnit works at Microsoft, New York in the Fairness Accountability Transparency and Ethics (FATE) Group where her team works on the complex social implications of AI, machine learning, data science, large-scale experimentation, and increasing automation. She previously worked at Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab where she received her PhD, and is Co-Founder of Black in AI, an organization that aims to foster collaborations and discuss initiatives to increase the presence of Black people in the field of Artificial Intelligence. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at