Amazon scraps AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women

The often gendered work we assign our robots shows what we value and what we don't

The often gendered work we assign our robots shows what we value and what we don't

KILLED a secret artificial intelligent (AI) powered tool it uses for recruitment due to the tech's hate of women.

"They literally wanted it to be an engine where I'm going to give you 100 resumes, it will spit out the top five, and we'll hire those", one source told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the system taught itself that male candidates were preferable to women.

They noticed that it was penalising CVs that included the word "women's", such as "women's chess club captain".

"Everyone wanted this holy grail", one individual familiar with the project told Reuters. But the computer program determined a good candidate by looking at resumes Amazon received over a decade - and, at least in engineering positions, a lot of them came from men. It also downgraded graduates of two all-women colleges.

However, in 2015 it emerged the new system was not rating candidates for software developer jobs and other technical roles in a gender-neutral way as computer models were trained to assess candidates on patterns in CVs submitted over a 10-year period.

Amazon edited the programme to make it neutral again, but there was no guarantee that it wouldn't discover new ways to discriminate against female candidates.

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Amazon ultimately disbanded the team by the start of previous year.

Amazon recruiters are believed to have used the system to look at the recommendations when hiring, but didn't rely on the rankings.

According to a 2017 survey by talent software firm CareerBuilder, 55 per cent of human resources managers in the U.S. expect AI to be a regular part of their work within the next five years.

So it set up a team in Amazon's Edinburgh engineering hub that grew to around a dozen people. Meanwhile, it decided that words such as "executed" and "captured", which are apparently deployed more often in the resumes of male engineers, would be used to rank a candidate more highly.

The model used in the AI system had other problems that led to unqualified candidates being recommended for a variety of unsuitable jobs.

Just like Tay, it seems Amazon's AI project was a victim of its upbringing.

Amazon has learned from its earlier experiment, and is now using a "much watered-down version" of the engine in its recruitment process.

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