Robots reject dark skin when they judge beauty pageant
Maybe it helps to be human.
The first international beauty contest judged by “machines” was supposed to use objective factors such as facial symmetry and wrinkles to identify the most attractive contestants. After Beauty.AI launched this year, roughly 6,000 people from more than 100 countries submitted photos in the hopes that artificial intelligence, supported by complex algorithms, would determine that their faces most closely resembled “human beauty”.
But when the results came in, the creators were dismayed to see that there was a glaring factor linking the winners: the robots did not like people with dark skin.
Out of 44 winners, nearly all were white, a handful were Asian, and only one had dark skin. That’s despite the fact that, although the majority of contestants were white, many people of color submitted photos, including large groups from India and Africa.
The ensuing controversy has sparked renewed debates about the ways in which algorithms can perpetuate biases, yielding unintended and often offensive results.