Opinion | Amazon Shuts Down AI After it Prefers Male Candidate


artificially intelligent robot graphic representation


It sounds like something twisted Hollywood would produce: A computer system becomes self-aware and begins a cold, callous assault on its creators. Sound familiar? That’s the plot to the popular Terminator franchise. Far from being a malevolent force to be reckoned with, Amazon’s AI is nevertheless the villain social justice warriors warn us about.

The system was composed to weed out inefficiencies in hiring and to always come up with the best talent possible. The company used the recruitment software from 2014-2017. According to Reuters, Amazon set up an engineering team in Edinburgh, Scotland, to create 500 computer models to recognize some 50,000 terms that showed up in past resumes.

Using resumes submitted to Amazon over a 10-year period, the majority of which came from male candidates, the tool assumed male candidates were preferable and downgraded resumes from women.

And of course, that system had to be shut down because the AI had apparently learned to discriminate.

The inherent bias from the coders was apparently transferred to the AI, and the Ai, in turn, discriminated against women.

At least that’s what the media is saying. Of course, let’s just ignore the obvious here: that most of the candidates were men in the first place. The data the AI had to work with was heavily skewed towards male candidates simply because there were more male candidates.

Let’s also just ignore the fact that women didn’t have the same qualifications written on their resumes. If the AI is coded to find certain words and phrases that pertain to the position, then it’s only going to pull resumes with the applicable words.

For instance, if the recruiters are looking for a Software Engineer with a graduate degree and 10 years of experience, then the AI would pull just the resumes that were returned in that search. The fact that CV’s belonging to men were pulled more often most likely implies that the men who applied for the position were more qualified than the women who applied.

The tool worked exactly as it was intended. It pulled the best candidates from what was available. It just turns out the best candidates were men. Regardless, Amazon scrapped the program, and it was never utilized in the hiring process.

So if companies aren’t allowed to hire the best talent if they happen to be male, what does that mean for the evolution of our products, services, and technology?

Amazon has reached the heights of success by employing the best. The company has morphed the way consumers purchase goods and services. You can stream movies and music, get packages delivered overnight to your doorstep (sometimes with free shipping), get groceries delivered and set up products for automatic shipment from a number of different retailers.

It’s fast, it’s convenient, and it’s affordable. In short, Amazon has revolutionized the online buying experience. All of this was only possible because they had access to the best talent, regardless of the candidate’s gender.

Recently, the state of California outlawed all-male boards. Across the globe, women are being mandated into corporate America, sports, and every single facet of male-dominated sectors and life. Qualifications be damned, women need to be everywhere.

Everything needs to be feminized in the name of equality, even if it means sacrificing advancements in healthcare, engineering, and research. Which leads me to wonder: why the big push to get women into these places? Clearly, it seems that most women are not interested in these positions. Why force the issue? It seems to me that maybe the idea is to tear apart the fabric of the nuclear family, and force its dissolution under the guise of “female empowerment” and “social justice”.

The media already presents motherhood and family obligations as outdated and sexist. Convincing women that we need to be part of the boy’s club to feel fulfilled and successful would certainly aid in accomplishing destroying the family unit.

If it’s not for this reason, then what else could it be? Did a T-1000 come back and terminate the software because it was the origin story of Skynet? Sadly, that scenario is just as likely as computer code learning how to discriminate.

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