RBC Disruptors Podcast: Can an algorithm be racist? The growing push for ethical AI
Bias is nothing new. In fact, a recent Borealis AI/RBC survey found that 88 per cent of businesses believe bias exists within their own organization. Addressing this is a critical component of building corporate culture. But we have to eliminate bias in our technology, too.
Bias in AI has serious consequences. From wrongful arrests to unfair recruitment policies, a biased algorithm has the ability to negatively impact the freedom, privacy and security of individuals and society as a whole.
AI is not neutral. Bias usually exists because algorithms have been trained using inadequate or biased data or the architectures are skewed towards specific outcomes. As machine learning algorithms are increasingly used to determine important real-world outcomes such as loan approval, pay rates, and parole decisions, the AI community has a responsibility to account for that discrimination. But how?
Listen to our new podcast, led by RBC’s John Stackhouse and featuring Saadia Muzzaffar, entrepreneur and founder of TechGirls Canada; Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University; and Foteini Agrafioti, Head of Borealis AI and Chief Science Officer at RBC. The discussion offers an enlightening and impassioned view on how society and businesses must tackle bias to ensure a fair, safe and trustworthy approach to AI.
About our speakers
Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Polity 2019) and editor of Captivating Technology (Duke 2019), among many other publications. Ruha’s work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine, and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Institute for Advanced Study and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton. For more info, please visit ruhabenjamin.com
Saadia Muzzaffar is a tech entrepreneur, author and passionate advocate of responsible innovation, decent work for everyone, and prosperity of immigrant talent in STEM. She is the founder of TechGirls Canada, the hub for Canadian women in science, technology, engineering and math - and co-founder of Tech Reset Canada, a group of business people, technologists, and other residents advocating for innovation that is focused on the public good. In 2017, she was featured in Canada 150 Women, a book about 150 of the most influential and groundbreaking women in Canada. She is honoured to serve on the board of Women's Shelters Canada and the Advisory board for the University of Guelph's Centre for Advancing Responsible and Ethical Artificial Intelligence (CARE-AI).