The Danger of Biased Artificial Intelligence

The World According to AI – Episode 2 The Bias in the Machine

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

This documentary examines how drone algorithms the US military developed for the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen (see Civilian Drone Strikes: Targeted by Algorithm) are being rolled out by urban police. Because these law enforcement algorithms are based on faulty data, they disproportionately target the poor and minorities. Because these particular zip codes are already over-policed, they provide the vast majority of data used in creating new algorithms.

What the filmmakers find particularly alarming is that many of the same algorithms are used to make bail decisions, sentencing recommendations and credit scores, as well as determining eligibility for state housing and other benefits.

The filmmakers visit Skid Road, the second most policed area in the world, after Baghdad. Owing to the current housing crisis, it hosts a massive homeless population, most of whom are either Black or disabled. The reason Skid Row is so heavily policed is because Skid Row borders on the wealthy Los Angeles financial district. One Skid Row woman has been arrested 108 times for sitting or lying on the sidewalk.

The US military also uses Skid Row population to test new spy software.

7 thoughts on “The Danger of Biased Artificial Intelligence

  1. Shocking vulnerabilities when biases not by people but by algorithms make the determinations. To stray of course a little I have to add my experience. Being financially secure I am not no skid row but life has thrown a fair few obstacles in my way especially since an accident while horse jumping left me with traumatic brain injury 28 years ago. Memory deficits are basically about being in Groundhog Day and Twitter has been my savior for augmenting memory.

    I am bereft because Twitter suspended the account last week. No reasons, just algorithms re-affirming with no reasons that I have been suspended.

    I have over 500,000 tweets and if ever, which they tell us, data becomes a trade oriented source of income, I will be lacking access to this data because Twitter is abusing its power and it is so big and powerful that nobody other than these algorithms assess without heart or comprehension my purpose for using Twitter. I have lost 10 years followers and this is my virtual community which has its own status quo often reaching out to people in sickness or seeking solutions the homeless crisis or other social justice issues.

    I have written my book Fortune Favours the Brave. Breast Cancer in 2017 focused me but it is twitter that puts the framework into my day 7 days a week and 52 weeks of the year.,


  2. Thanks for your insightful comment, Michelle. While I was still practicing, I specialized in working with people with TBI’s. I had a particular interest in how people’s personality changed after the head injury. Many I worked with developed a strikingly refined sense of humor – in fact two became stand up comics. So sorry to hear about your Twitter account. I can really identify with your comment about communicating with Twitter putting the framework into your day.


    • Thank you too. Yes Personality Change is the one. What enters your mind is verbalised. All family secrets for decades are on the table, the most hidden are the ones that are most outed. A friend is approaching 10 years in Parkinsons Lewy Body. I can identify with this reckless abandon of telling what often family do not want to hear let alone have repeated. My family never accepted that it was brain injury; denial is a powerful tool but for me it means I have had no access to my 5 nieces and nephews for over 2 decades now. My mother, a doctor, practiced into her 80’s and that was her escapism. I broke free and am living with a man for 16 years now, who family would not accept either but thankfully I am surviving. My husband of 14 yrs divorced me a few years into the head injury. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 I decided I need my side of the experience of traumatic brain injury, bipolar, chronic fatigue, anxiety et al stated in hard print just in case someone some day wanted me as the person I am now … I love comedy and my partner KT sure can make me laugh and it is a great tonic. We can be volatile in temperament but I forget so nothing gets grounded in revenge or accusations going forward. My friend with Parkinsons has hallucinations and having been there, we just order out of the room those intruders who we don’t want in our company. Having had psychosis. I understand. My book is Fortune Favours the Brave. I really enjoy your WordPress but I am not a constant but I am going to add to my routine reading your postings. Thank you for replying. I only worked out what conversations meant this morning hence the reply.

      Liked by 1 person


    Most western people, live in fantasy worlds of denial and unrealistic optimism of the future.
    Denial of Climate change
    Environmental Denial of Loss of Life Support
    Denial of Extinction
    Denial of Human Incompetence and Inviability in the Poisoned World

    Species Collapse
    Climate Collapse
    Economic Collapse
    Political Collapse

    There is 5 to 7 years left. AI is simply a sideshow. If there are nuclear dotonations, move the 5 to seven years up the time of the detonations.


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