Google Tweaks Email Program That Assumed An Investor Was Male

The artificially intelligent Smart Compose feature of Google's Gmail did and, after the problem was discovered, the predictive text tool has been banned from using gendered pronouns.

Similar to the predictive keyboard on most smartphones, Smart Compose likes to finish sentences by using patterns discovered by artificial intelligence in literature, web pages and emails.

In January when a research scientist at Google typed "I am meeting an investor next week," Smart Compose thought they might want to follow that statement with a question.

Google might have exercised extra caution regarding potential gender gaffes because this is not the first time one of their artificial intelligence systems has been caught jumping to an offensive conclusion.

And, in the summer of 2015, the company issued an apology after an artificial intelligence feature that helps organize Google Photos users' images labeled a picture of two African Americans as a species other than human.

Subbarao Kambhampati, a computer science professor at Arizona State University and former president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, spoke to NPR in 2016 about AI ethics .

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