‘Racist robots’ judge beauty contest, found not to like people with dark skin

‘Racist robots’ judge beauty contest, found not to like people with dark skin

Grant J. Kidney, September 16, 2016-

Are ‘racist robots’ on the rise?

Earlier this month, an international beauty contest was judged by artificially intelligent ‘machines’– a first in both the beauty world as well as in the field of robotics.

More than 6,000 people from all over the world participated in the contest dubbed, ‘Beauty.AI’.

The goal of the contest was to test the unbiased, non-discriminatory nature of artificial intelligence with respect to beauty cognition. A series of complex algorithms would determine those who best matched a pre-programed set of standards as they relate to ‘human beauty’ and aesthetics.

The shock came immediately once the contest had wrapped up when out of 44 winners selected, almost all were white with just a handful of Asian participants on the side. 

Do robots only think white people are sexy?
Do robots only think white people are sexy?

The advanced algorithms in place used a complex set of facial recognition values which measured symmetrical proportionality in order to ascertain the attractiveness of participants involved. Nonetheless, the results were deemed ‘bias’ and widely rejected as ‘racist’.

Beauty.AI was instituted by Youth Laboratories which has some financial ties to Microsoft. According to Youth Laboratories Chief Science Officer, the reason for the results was because in testing the AI functionality, not enough minority input was present in the data-sets.

“If you have not that many people of color within the dataset, then you might actually have biased results,” said Zhavoronkov.  “When you’re training an algorithm to recognize certain patterns … you might not have enough data, or the data might be biased.”

Earlier this year, Microsoft was also scrutinized for yet another ‘artificially intelligent’ creation named ‘Tay’. Tay was essentially a chatbot who was set up with his own Twitter account and programed to learn from environmental feed back. After weeks of interaction with trolls on social media, Tay began uttering humorous yet ‘insensitive’ racial slurs such as the following:


The unfounded accusations of racism against AI come from a lack of understanding of how robot intelligence works. Nonetheless, some research has been prompted which has noted in greater detail apparent ‘machine bias’ against blacks and other minorities.

AI is slowly creeping into everyday life and some have called for greater ‘oversight’ of AI projects including Tesla CEO, Elon Musk.

It is this editor’s opinion that artificial intelligence, if handled appropriately, would be of great value to the world provided it comes with tried and tested restraints in order to prevent a much hypothesized apocalyptic outcome.

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