Give This Image AI A Crack If You’re Yet To Experience Any Outright Racism Today

This is on a whole new level of racist.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a good milkshake duck. The last example I can think of was the spectacular backlash towards the dude who drew those adorable Strange Planet alien comics once people found out he was anti-abortion, but now we have another racist image AI to focus on. 

Noooo. Credit: Giphy

ImageNet is a database that’s been around since 2009, and works by figuring out what’s in a picture and labelling it as such. It’s an amazing piece of technology, and has is used by the likes of Stanford and Princeton Universities. ImageNet is really good at labelling things like balloon, apple, or river, and great at recognising people, but things get dicey when you ask it to get more specific when it tags a person. 

Enter ImageNet Roulette. ImageNet Roulette is an AI that imported all the training images ImageNet had for people, as well as learned all the possible classifications that it could give you. It lets you upload a photo for the algorithm to make a bunch of assumptions about, and surprise, these assumptions are often wildly wrong.

For example, a picture of me:

Credit: ImageNet Roulette

I still don’t understand what it was about me, a non-religious person wearing no religious garments, that screamed ‘woman in charge of a bunch of nuns’, but here we are. I suppose if I did find myself in an abbey, the nun in charge of the whole place isn’t a bad position to be in. I also really appreciate the ominous tag of ‘mortal’. 

I got off lightly. 

It turns out that anybody who isn’t white will most likely have their picture come back with a bunch of labels like ‘black person’. Or worse.

Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter
Credit: Twitter

It’s not a fun ride. It’s also, unfortunately, not the first time that AI has gone off the deep end. 

There was the time that Microsoft hooked an AI up to Twitter in the hopes it would become a cool teen chatbot, and it turned into an unhinged racist in less than a day. 

And the time that Amazon had to scrap an AI to help with hiring because it was sexist.

And the AI that read Google News for a while, before telling researchers that ‘man is to computer programmer as woman is to homemaker’.

Seriously? Credit: Giphy

These AI don’t wind up this way on their own. An algorithm is the result of what it’s fed and who it learns off, and the tech industry is notorious for lacking diversity. If the programmer has some unconscious biases, the AI will have a very loud version of those same biases. Silicon Valley in particular is slowly getting better, but it’s still very white and very male.

The obvious solution is for more diversity in the people inputting the information so that these biases are taken out, but unfortunately, that’s not going to happen overnight. In the meantime, AI like ImageNet need to be called out for the problem they have, be it through projects like ImageNet Roulette or some other means. 

Please, stop. Credit: Giphy

We can’t fix a problem we can’t see, and so these incidents need to be called out until either we stamp out the problem or the robot uprising happens. Whatever comes first. 

How Safe Is Your Number - And Nudes - With Facebook Dating?

Where will all the unsolicited dick pics go?

There are no shortage of red flags when it comes to online dating. There are catfish, unicorn hunters, unsolicited dick pics, and endless “haha and then what ;)” messages. That’s all without worrying about whether or not the actual info you give the site is going to be released all over the internet.

Facebook has announced it will be rolling out a new feature in the US called Facebook Dating. It’s a dating site that can be accessed from the main app if you fill out a separate dating profile, then connects you with people based on where you are, preferences you’ve told Facebook about, events you’ve attended, and groups you’re in, amongst other things. You’ll even be able to link your Instagram up to it.

Facebook knows so much about us that I suppose it does make sense that they’d be able to find the best matches for us, but the flip side of the coin is that Facebook doesn’t have a great track record of keeping what they know about us private. The announcement of the Dating rollout came the day after Facebook admitted to accidentally releasing the Facebook IDs and phone numbers of 419 million people. Think about the size of that number for a second. The entire population of Australia is 25 million, and Facebook accidentally released 419 million people’s information. The mind boggles.

Of course that’s just the most recent breach. There was that time a bug in the system made 14 million people’s private posts public; the time that a hacker got in and compromised 50 million accounts; and then there was the whole Cambridge Analytica mess. And those were all in 2018 alone. 

Facebook Dating is going to have a feature called “Secret Crush” (side note: that name makes my skin crawl) that allows you to allocate up to nine people as a secret crush. Those people won’t know they’re your crush unless they also nominate you as a secret crush of theirs. If we can’t trust Facebook with our phone numbers, why should we trust them to keep our crushes secret?

Maybe it’s not fair to pin all these concerns on Facebook. Other dating websites have certainly had their fair share of security breaches, and by definition dating sites have some pretty personal info. Lest we forget the Ashley Madison leaks.

When Judith Duportail, a reporter for The Guardian, requested that Tinder send her all of her data, she got far more than she expected:

“Some 800 pages came back containing information such as my Facebook ‘likes’, links to where my Instagram photos would have been had I not previously deleted the associated account, my education, the age-rank of men I was interested in, how many Facebook friends I had, when and where every online conversation with every single one of my matches happened … the list goes on.”

It’s a scary amount of info, and they probably have a similar amount of data on you and I. And the best part is that Tinder’s very own privacy policy says:

“Although we take steps to secure your information, we do not promise, and you should not expect, that your personal information, chats, or other communications will always remain secure.”

At least they’re honest. 

Unfortunately garbage security is just a part of being on the internet these days, so for now add “it will stay in my data forever” to the list of reasons not to send an unsolicited dick pic.

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