Amazon scraps internal Artificial Intelligence recruiting tool biased that was against women

Amazon's AI recruitment tool dumped for being bias against women

The experimental recruitment tool used AI to award candidates scores ranging from one to five stars, according to the sources.

That appears to have been the case with Amazon's AI recruitment tool, which was discriminating against women before it was shut down, Reuters reports.

"Everyone wanted this holy grail", one of the people told Reuters, adding: "They literally wanted it to be an engine where I'm going to give you 100 resumes, it will spit out the top five, and we'll hire those". But quite quickly, the team realized a big problem: the program had taught itself some seriously questionable hiring practices, prioritizing male candidates, and masculine language, over women.

The system started to penalise CVs which included the word "women". Unfortunately, most of the resumes belonged to male applicants.

The computer model was trained by observing patterns in the CVs candidates had submitted to Amazon over a decade-long period - most of which came from men. It also reportedly downgraded graduates of two all-women's colleges. The program was edited to make it neutral to the term but it became clear that the system could not be relied upon, Reuters was told.


Speaking to The Sun, Amazon sources said the retail giant "never based recruitment decisions on the tool's ratings alone", but recruiters did examine the AI's recommendations when sifting through applications.

Some 55 percent of USA human resource managers said artificial intelligence, or AI, would be a regular part of their work within the next five years, according to a 2017 survey by talent software firm CareerBuilder. But computer scientists such as Nihar Shah, who teaches machine learning at Carnegie Mellon University, say there is still much work to do.

So it set up a team in Amazon's Edinburgh engineering hub that grew to around a dozen people.

As of 2017, 40 percent of Amazon's workforce was female - a higher portion than Facebook, Apple, Google, or Microsoft, per Reuters. Meanwhile, it decided that words such as "executed" and "captured", which are apparently deployed more often in the resumes of male engineers, would be used to rank a candidate more highly.

The system not only proved to be biased against women but also recommended unqualified candidates for various job posts. "The technology is just not ready yet".

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