New Scientist Default Image

Teaching an AI to be less biased doesn’t have to make it less accurate

AI takes on human biases

kentoh/Getty Images

Making an artificial intelligence less biased makes it less accurate, according to conventional wisdom, but that may not be true. A new way of testing AIs could help us build algorithms that are both fairer and more effective.

The data sets we gather from society are infused with historical prejudice and AIs trained on them absorb this bias. This is worrying, as the technology is creeping into areas like job recruitment and the criminal justice system. New techniques can make AIs fairer, such as by preprocessing training data to remove bias, but in practice …