12. Oct, 2021

The vicious data circle ...

Picture taken from 6 Ways to Make Faster Decisions (Infographic)

I am just reading the book Invisible Women from Caroline Criado Perez.

"Imagine a world where your phone is too big for your hand, where your doctor prescribes a drug that is wrong for your body, where in a car accident you are 47% more likely to be seriously injured, where every week the countless hours of work you do are not recognised or valued. If any of this sounds familiar, chances are that you’re a woman. Invisible Women shows us how, in a world largely built for and by men, we are systematically ignoring half the population. It exposes the gender data gap – a gap in our knowledge that is at the root of perpetual, systemic discrimination against women, and that has created a pervasive but invisible bias with a profound effect on women’s lives."

I heard something similar from a colleague this morning, when she mentioned dedicated  Women's-Only Hotel Floors. First she was surprised that it even existed, but then she was really appreciating the dedication with respect to security and services for example.

Now let's describe the vicious circle: As we learned above, the majority of the databases in use for any kind of product/service development are focused on male data already. Now we bring in artificial intelligence, programmed and trained mainly by men (with their biases and prejudices included during the process) using male databases as reference. Where is this leading to? 

The women who will be urgently required to improve this process and data sets are not even passing the job selection processes, as they are sorted out directly at the beginning - due to data in the databases, build in biases and prejudices 😠👎!!

Some clean up and CHANGE is required here. As you might know, change only works when people have a personal benefit from it - what's in it for me? - so it will be really difficult to get this ball rolling and to break or leave this vicious data circle. We need a combined approach (the picture of today might help 🤔):

  • Create awareness about the problem at hand, what the book of Caroline Criado Perez is trying to do
  • Motivate young women to enter the world of data, to fix the databases sooner than later and to close the gender gaps in artificial intelligence and machine learning

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers." — M. Scott Peck, taken from 21 Famous Quotes About Decision Making & Judgment

P.S.: Two examples for data usage. The Best 10 Malaga Attractions You Should See is very gender neutral and the 20 Most Famous Swimmers of All Time article should just start with women, to be perfect 😎. A minor adjustment.