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Amazon’s abandoned recruiting tool, which used machine learning to automate portions of the search for tech talent, has reignited the debate about implicit bias within machine learning algorithms and the clear dangers. Reuters’ Jeffrey Dastin reported this week that the company had shut down a recruiting engine that was discriminating against women. The report found that the system penalised women’s CVs, even training itself to mark the word “women’s” as a negative, largely because the data set used to train them was ten years of software development candidates that were overwhelmingly men. The word “brogrammer” has not entered common parlance for nothing in the Valley. If you happened to be captain of the women’s football team in college or had attended a women’s leadership course, your CV could have been sent to the bottom of the pile.

While embarrassing for the company, concerns over implicit bias within data used to programme could be a major issue that stymies the development of machine learning applications.

It begs the question that, if it is hard to spot or control bias, should more testing be done before algorithms are let loose in real world situations where people’s futures are decided? Should more scrutiny be applied to the likely communications impacts?

The Independent asked in an article this week if it was time for software engineers to study human rights law.

News in Brief:

Around Whitehall:

MPs to quiz Pepper robot

Next week, the education select committee will quiz the Pepper robot about the impact of artificial intelligence. Whether they will get a balanced view from a robot remains to be seen.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-45824589

Margo James celebrates Welsh tech sector

Digital minister Margot James celebrated new success metrics for the tech sector in Cardiff. Jobs in digital tech in Cardiff have grown by almost a third over the last three years.

http://www.bqlive.co.uk/digital/2018/10/11/news/opportunities-multiply-for-the-welsh-digital-tech-sector-33901/

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