Humans are Biased. Generative AI is Even Worse.

June 14 2023

The meteoric rise in the use of artificial intelligence programs to generate images from text-based prompts opens the door to numerous bias concerns. Bloomberg recently conducted an investigation of these platforms and found alarming race-based trends in AI-produced images. According to Bloomberg, image sets generated with 'high-paying job' text prompts were dominated by subjects with lighter skin tones, while subjects with darker skin tones were more commonly generated by prompts like “fast-food worker” and “social worker.” 

The natural progression of AI from entertainment use to more professional uses is predicted to have serious implications. CPE's Director of Research Strategy Nicole Napolitano discussed those concerns with the outlet. 

The following is an excerpt from the article:

One potential way police might use the technology is to create photo-realistic composite images of suspects.

“Showing someone a machine-generated image can reinforce in their mind that that’s the person even when it might not be — even when it’s a completely faked image,” said Nicole Napolitano, director of research strategy at the Center for Policing Equity.


According to Napolitano, police departments with ample budgets have a tendency to snap up new technologies as they become available, without ensuring there’s oversight to examine the possible ramifications. Biased AI systems, like facial-recognition tools, are already being used by thousands of US police departments and have led to wrongful arrests.

“Every part of the process in which a human can be biased, AI can also be biased,” she warned. “And the difference is technology legitimizes bias by making it feel more objective, when that’s not at all the case.”

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