Bad data made Amazon's AI biased against women

Jeff Bezos

The experimental recruitment tool used AI to award candidates scores ranging from one to five stars, according to the sources.

An Amazon spokesperson reiterated to V3 that the system "was never used by Amazon recruiters to evaluate candidates".

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", an unnamed Amazon employee told Reuters.

Amazon made a decision to scrap a machine learning (ML) algorithm it was creating to help automate the recruitment process because the model kept favoring male candidates, Reuters revealed.

Any resume that mentioned involvement in women's clubs or sports teams, for example, were downgraded.

"Everyone wanted this holy grail", a source familiar with the project told Reuters.

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However, after examining patterns from submitted applications over 10 years, most of which were from men, the system started penalizing women. And no matter how Amazon tweaked the program, there was "no guarantee that the machines would not devise other ways of sorting candidates that could prove discriminatory", Reuters writes.

Amazon ultimately chose to scrap the team a year ago because executives no longer had hope for the system, according to Reuters. While the program was operational, recruiters looked at the recommendations generated by the tool, but never relied soley on those rankings.

Some 55% of US human resources managers said artificial intelligence would be a regular part of their work within the next five years, according to a 2017 survey by talent software firm CareerBuilder. To do this, the team created 500 computer models and taught each of them to recognize 50,000 terms from previous applicants' resumes.

The project was only ever used in a trial phase, not independently, and Amazon closed it in early 2017.

The system was also found to be recommending candidates for unsuitable jobs; cue a facepalm moment.

However, Amazon's inability to stop existing prejudices and preconceptions from colouring its AI's judgement should serve as a warning to those looking to factor machine learning and other automated tools into the process of recruitment. "The technology is just not ready yet".

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