Kathy Baxter heads the ethics department at Salesforce. She is worried about the ‘algorithmic bias’ that the latest AI may help perpetuate. (Source: ZDNET YouTube video)

Chatbots on Social Media Can Magnify Algorithmic Bias in Hiring Apps

Imagine taking all the negative postings and misinformation you see on Facebook, Instagram, and similar platforms and multiplying it by 5 or even 10 times. Imagine how all that data might influence some people’s minds badly.

That is the warning from a Dan Patterson article we found on zdnet.com. The concern being expressed is from Kathy Baxter, principal Architect of Ethical AI Practice at Salesforce. And of course, it involves the phenomenal rise of AI chatbots.

Baxter states clearly that the clock is ticking on what could be a significant problem for people on social media.

In an interview with ZDNET, Baxter emphasized the need for diverse representation in data sets and user research to ensure fair and unbiased AI systems. She also highlighted the significance of making AI systems transparent, understandable, and accountable while protecting individual privacy.

Baxter stresses the need for cross-sector collaboration, like the model used by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), so that we can develop robust and safe AI systems that benefit everyone.

Social Bias Could Worsen

One issue Baxter takes on in this interview is the ethics of the new AI. One of the fundamental questions in AI ethics is ensuring that AI systems are developed and deployed without reinforcing existing social biases or creating new ones.

To achieve this, Baxter stressed the importance of asking who benefits and who pays for AI technology. It’s crucial to consider the data sets being used and ensure they represent everyone’s voices. Inclusivity in the development process and identifying potential harms through user research is also essential.

“This is one of the fundamental questions we have to discuss,” Baxter said. “Women of color, in particular, have been asking this question and doing research in this area for years now. I’m thrilled to see many people talking about this, particularly with the use of generative AI. But the things that we need to do, fundamentally, are ask who benefits and who pays for this technology. Whose voices are included?”

Protecting Everyone’s Privacy

Baxter goes on to explain the way she runs her division at Salesforce. Protecting individuals’ privacy and ensuring responsible AI use requires transparency and consent. Salesforce follows guidelines for responsible generative AI, which include respecting data provenance and only using customer data with consent. Allowing users to opt-in, opt-out, or have control over their data use is critical for privacy.

“We only use customer data when we have their consent,” Baxter said. “Being transparent when you are using someone’s data, allowing them to opt-in, and allowing them to go back and say when they no longer want their data to be included is really important.”

As the competition for innovation in generative AI intensifies, maintaining human control and autonomy over increasingly autonomous AI systems is more important than ever. Empowering users to make informed decisions about the use of AI-generated content and keeping a human in the loop can help maintain control.

Baxter emphasizes the importance of focusing on the present. Ensuring responsible AI use and addressing social biases today will better prepare society for future AI advancements. By investing in ethical AI practices and collaborating across industries, we can help create a safer, more inclusive future for AI technology.

“I think the timeline matters a lot,” Baxter said. “We really have to invest in the here and now and create this muscle memory, create these resources, create regulations that allow us to continue advancing but doing it safely.”

Kathy Baxter isn’t the only one speaking out about the problems she sees in this most recent evolution of AI. The leaders of the biggest AI developers have also expressed deep concern about AI’s integration into society. The transparency Baxter calls for is essential.

Failing to address these ethical AI issues can have severe consequences, as seen in cases of wrongful arrests due to facial recognition errors or the generation of harmful images. Investing in safeguards and focusing on the here and now, rather than solely on potential future harms, can help mitigate these issues and ensure the responsible development and use of AI systems.

read more at zdnet.com