Timnit Gebru’s of the World

From challenging the status quo to calling Google “institutionally racist”, Timnit has left many feeling empowered.

Source: CONAN Daily

When I first heard about Timnit Gebru getting fired and retaliated from the mega giant monopoly Google, I was beyond shocked to say the least. In fact, Google so often fires its employees on the grounds of misconduct, misdemeanour and misleading research articles. But, Timnit Gebru, a female black AI researcher, ticked all the boxes of being one of the few leading researchers in the field of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, and yet she was sacked from the company.

I think that so many people remain uneducated in the realm of what consists of AI and Data Science and how it is actually going to dominate the world. AI, as a term changes all the time. For me, it means helping machines to understand the world, such as natural processing language. However, there are repercussions as Timnit highlights in her paper about Melanoma detection in an automated way or controlling finances of people of colour in a biased way. She also called out on the gender and colour biased facial recognition leading to a widespread controversy. I myself, being a woman of colour understand how fundamentally this will have a detrimental effect on the cultural diversity.

In fact, my recent study into Predictive Analytics helped me gain a good judgement of how we as so-called analysts can skew towards more of data-driven solutions causing more variance in our judgements and analysis. From deciding models, to parameter tuning and using the available data, we assume different parameters influencing millions of behaviour of people.

From a student’s POV, I believe, Data Science has more to it than being on the dark side. Various researches have proven to be quite effective in building great autonomies in the world only via technological improvements, however, we should be cautious of the demand and supply for this type of unknown and untapped resource. People more so , now than ever have caught up in this data heist, contradicting the very belief for humanitarian purposes.

A famous line said by Chris Lynch rings the bell “Big data is at the foundation of all the megatrends that are happening.” and the major trend that is currently happening is the drive towards the increasing popularity of AI. In the words of Timnit, “You’re not going to have papers that make the company happy all the time and don’t point out problems, that is antithetical to what it means to be that kind of a researcher”.

Most people are immensely scared that the next frontier of AI would be racial discrimination and that would put most people in jeopardy. That in itself is a very menacing topic to intrude and explore. For that, we need to be extra cautious and let the future machine learning engineers figure out, the next end of the road.

Thank you for reading!

Stay tuned for more articles.