Amazon Shareholders Vote to Continue Selling Controversial Facial Recognition Tech to Police
Amazon will continue selling its controversial facial recognition tech, Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies and government agencies. The potential ban on the software was one of 11 resolutions reviewed by investors during Amazon’s annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday.
Studies have shown that bias in facial recognition tech makes it difficult to detect darker skin tones. The ACLU tested Amazon Rekognition last year to compare photos of members of Congress with a database of mugshots. The results led to 28 incorrect matches that disproportionately affected people of color including six members from the Congressional Black Caucus.
The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing Wednesday about the use of facial recognition technology by government agencies and its impact on civil rights. Last week, San Francisco became the first major city to ban facial recognition software and other cities are considering similar legislation.
Will.i.am Invests and is Set to Advise Montreal AI Startup on Ethics and Bias
The Black Eyed Peas frontman turned tech investor is backing Stradigi AI, a Montreal-based AI solutions company. The company released the Kepler AI platform at C2 Montréal with CEO Basil Bouraropoulos and will.i.am, the team’s newly appointed AI Advisor on Bias and Ethics. The team develops cutting-edge AI algorithms to identify and solve complex business challenges for both business and governments. Stradigi AI’s platform houses powerful cutting-edge AI solutions for multiple industries including retail, finance, insurance and health, driving rapid ROI and tangible results for its users.
Final Draft’s New Inclusivity Tool Measures Diversity in TV and Film Scripts
Screenwriting software company Final Draft added a new tool tool analyze diversity in screenplays. In conjunction with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media (GDIGM), the tool allows writers to assign unique attributes, of their choosing, to characters from sexual orientation to occupation in their script. The system will analyze the script for diversity and inclusion, encouraging writers to check their own bias.
This “UX nerd” is Running Hackathons to Tackle the POC Maternal Mortality Crisis
Product manager and self-proclaimed “UX nerd,” Whitney Robinson is using her health tech expertise to reduce maternal mortality in women of color. In a Fast Company feature, Robinson says she spent months consulting with maternal health academics and surveying women from various backgrounds including incarcerated women that have dealt with pregnancy loss after coping with her own miscarriage. She then launched The Renée, a series of hackathons that brings women of color together to “hack their experiences.” The data from the sessions is then used as a tech resource for other expectant mothers. Check out our story on how bias in machine learning could negatively impact Black mothers.
-Tyler Young | @sheistyler