Artificial Intelligence and Implicit Bias

Both AI and bias (prejudice) have been major stories lately, from several states enacting new Jim Crow-style voting laws to anti-Asian sentiment. And then Google fired their head of AI ethics when she raised the question of hidden AI bias against women and people of color. Others have shown that bias is embedded into some AI programs.

AI sounds scary and very technical, but recent advances have made it much easier to understand and to use. You can sketch a few lines and the QuickDraw AI program will immediately guess what you are drawing. If you are trying to communicate with someone who speaks another language, a translation program can help in almost real time. And with user-friendly programs like Teachable Machine, people of all ages can create their own AI programs.

In the John Hope Franklin Young Scholars program, we examined the history of bias, from the Jim Crow era to our increasingly AI world. In 1950, Durham’s legendary Pauli Murray published a collection of race-based laws from across the country. She saw it as a guide for attorneys filing lawsuits. Fast forward 70 years and UNC researchers are using AI to search North Carolina’s legal history to “identify legislation that could be classified as a Jim Crow law.”

How do we use these powerful tools to get at other examples of historical bias? Is there a pattern in how historical buildings in NC are saved? 

We are fortunate to have a wide range of resources from scholars to archive collections in the area to work with us. One of the leading programs for AI in schools is centered at the NC School of Science and Math. There are also many top-notch AI and bias researchers at Duke and other universities in the Triangle.

This FREE program will meet at Duke on the second Saturday of each month from 10 AM-3 PM, with field trips throughout the year. All Young Scholars must be vaccinated per Duke policies. If you have any questions, please contact:

David Stein
Program Director
Duke University Office of Durham and Community Affairs