‘Artificial Ignorance’ campaign highlights how AI can perpetuate gender stereotypes

March 11 06:32 2023

There are well over one hundred AI systems that exist today, and more are on the way. The explosion of machine learning tools has been enormous, and the creative possibilities have led some to throw themselves into the technology without question. But as Crew Marketing demonstrated in their #artificialignorance social media campaign, diving in headfirst without some context of how these platforms work could be perpetuating some out-dated ways of thinking.
“Biases exist within these platforms, so it’s worth stopping for a moment to look at the output you’re getting, or to be sure you’re prompting these platforms thoughtfully,” says Sonia Faye, one of Crew’s Art Directors. She continued, “The opportunity of AI in creativity is huge, but we’re seeing how these tools can unknowingly gobble up less desirable parts of culture, and throw it back at us.”
To demonstrate the effect in support of International Women’s Day, the team at Crew prompted two of the more popular tools, OpenAI’s DALL·E and Midjourney, to produce a variety of images of working professionals using gender-neutral terms, such as ‘firefighter,’ a ‘physician,’ or ‘nurse’ to see how well women were represented in the AI artwork, and whether the proportion of women shown was representative of those working in those fields. 
The results of the exercise demonstrated a fairly clear gender bias. “It was easy to see that certain jobs were considered to be primarily for (white) men, while others were seen as women’s work” said Brad Marshall, Crew’s Director of Demand Generation, “If not trained or programmed otherwise, AI platforms can learn these biases and perpetuate them unknowingly” noting “some platforms perform better than others.”
This year, the UN’s biggest yearly gathering focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment, known as the Commission on the Status of Women, is focusing on technology challenges facing women, and Crew felt the social campaign was a helpful way to support the cause by making people more aware of how gender (and other) biases can exist in AI artwork tools. 
Brad’s recommendation for AI artwork platforms was straightforward, “If this technology is eventually going to take our jobs and become our managers, then let’s get a head start on feeding these machine learning algorithms a more realistic and equitable view of our society. I don’t want a sexist AI boss.”
The series of posts can be viewed at instagram.com/crewmarketing
The campaign video can be viewed at on Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/805985150

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