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Many black people presume that the comment, “they all look alike to me”, is the way the rest of the world sees us.
But research has shown that, although this facial ambiguity is a problem, it’s not unique to black people.
The human brain de-individualizes faces belonging to groups that we don’t belong to. This behavior is known as the cross-race effect.
Now, if I didn’t know better, I’d have sworn that scientists were doing their best to all-lives-matter the conversation, but there is evidence
that, to people of a different race, people of another race do
That said, the well-documented shortcomings of modern facial recognition technologies are forcing scientists to consider a different, but ultimately, related set of questions.
At a basic level, the goal of artificial intelligence is to simulate the human brain — General AI, or even exceed its intelligence — Super AI.
But so far, what we’ve been able to do is simulate a subset of human functions — Narrow AI.
This field of AI operates within a pre-determined, pre-defined range, and replicates a specific human behaviour based on specific parameters and contexts.
While this is no doubt an impressive feat, the cross-race effect isn’t extensible to lower forms of intelligence. What we’ve found, instead, is that the deep learning
algorithms that we use in narrow AI might have inherited some deep racial biases
. (Read more