The coming war on the hidden algorithms that trap people in poverty

Miriam was only 21 when she met Nick. She was a photographer, fresh out of college, waiting tables. He was 16 years her senior and a local business owner who had worked in finance. He was charming and charismatic; he took her out on fancy dates and paid for everything. She quickly fell into his orbit.

It began with one credit card. At the time, it was the only one she had. Nick would max it out with $5,000 worth of business purchases and promptly pay it off the next day. Miriam, who asked me not to use their real names for fear of interfering with their ongoing divorce proceedings, discovered that this was boosting her credit score. Having grown up with a single dad in a low-income household, she trusted Nick’s know-how over her own. He readily encouraged the dynamic, telling her she didn’t understand finance. She opened up

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Facebook is overhauling its hate speech algorithms

The overhaul, which is known as the WoW Project and is in its early stages, involves re-engineering Facebook’s automated moderation systems to get better at detecting and automatically deleting hateful language that is considered “the worst of the worst,” according to internal documents describing the project obtained by The Washington Post. The “worst of the worst” includes slurs directed at Blacks, Muslims, people of more than one race, the LGBTQ community and Jews, according to the documents.

As one way to assess severity, Facebook assigned different types of attacks numerical scores weighted based on their perceived harm. For example, the company’s systems would now place a higher priority on automatically removing statements such as “Gay people are disgusting” than “Men are pigs.”

Facebook has long banned hate speech — defined as violent or dehumanizing speech — based on race, gender, sexuality and other protected characteristics. It owns Instagram and has

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Training AI algorithms on mostly smiling faces reduces accuracy and introduces bias, according to research

Facial recognition systems are problematic for a number of reasons, not least of which they tend to exhibit prejudice against certain demographic groups and genders. But a new study from researchers affiliated with MIT, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona, and the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid explores another problematic aspect that’s received less attention so far: bias toward certain facial expressions. The coauthors claim that the impact of expressions on facial recognition systems is “at least” as impactful as wearing a scarf, hat, wig, or glasses, and that facial recognition systems are trained with highly biased datasets in this regard.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence that facial recognition is susceptible to harmful, pervasive prejudice. A paper last fall by University of Colorado, Boulder researchers demonstrated that AI from Amazon, Clarifai, Microsoft, and others maintained accuracy rates above 95% for cisgender men and women but misidentified

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Obama says social media companies ‘are making editorial choices, whether they’ve buried them in algorithms or not’

  • Former U.S. President Barack Obama said that the extent to which social media companies claim they “are more like a phone company than they are like The Atlantic” is not “tenable,” he told the publication in an interview published Monday.
  • Obama’s statement that social media platforms should be considered more like publishers than public utilities would have significant implications on how the companies are regulated.
  • President-elect Joe Biden has harshly criticized a statute that protects social media platforms from legal liability in an interview with The New York Times editorial board published earlier this year.



Barack Obama holding a phone: Former U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a pre-election drive-in rally to campaign on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee and his former Vice President Joe Biden in Orlando, Florida, October 27, 2020.


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Former U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a pre-election drive-in rally to campaign on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee and his former Vice President Joe Biden in Orlando, Florida, October 27, 2020.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama said that the extent to which social media companies claim they “are more like a

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