Facebook Sorry Its A.I. Software Labeled Black Men as “Primates” in Network Video

By B.N. Frank

Embarrassing and tragic examples of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) faux-pas and inaccuracies continue to be reported (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  There is even an A.I. “Hall of Shame”.  This recent example seems to qualify.

From Business Insider:

Facebook Apologizes after its AI software labels Black men ‘primates’ in a video featured on the platform

A Facebook spokesperson said the software involved had been disabled. Getty

  • Facebook has apologized for labeling Black men “primates” in a featured video.
  • The company told The New York Times that it was an “unacceptable error.”
  • The label appeared in relation to a clip titled: “White man calls cops on black men at marina.”

Facebook on Friday issued an apology after its AI software labeled Black men “primates” in a video featured on the social media network.

The New York Times first reported the story. A Facebook spokesperson told the publication that it was a “clearly unacceptable error,” and said the recommendation software involved had been disabled.

“We disabled the entire topic recommendation feature as soon as we realised this was happening so we could investigate the cause and prevent this from happening again,” the spokesperson said.

In a statement to the publication, Facebook said: “We apologize to anyone who may have seen these offensive recommendations.”

The offensive terminology related to a video, dated June 27, 2020, which was posted by The Daily Mail. The clip was titled “white man calls cops on black men at marina,” and featured Black men in disputes with white police officers and civilians.

Facebook users who watched the video received an automated prompt asking if they would like to “keep seeing videos about Primates,” according to The New York Times.

Facebook did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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A 2019 survey revealed that 82% of Americans believed that A.I. was more harmful than helpful.  Nevertheless, earlier this summer a federal agency requested for public comments on how much Americans currently trust this technology.  Does it really matter since President Biden had already committed to incorporating more of it in the U.S.?

Activist Post reports regularly about A.I. and other unsafe technology.  For more information, visit our archives.

Image: Pixabay

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