Accomplished Black MIT Researcher Pens New Book Exposing Biases in AI
Dr. Joy Buolamwini, an accomplished Black woman and MIT researcher, has authored a new book entitled “Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines.”
The book serves as a warning about the dangers of biased artificial intelligence systems that can negatively impact marginalized groups.
A Pioneer in Exposing Algorithmic Bias
As the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, Dr. Buolamwini has been at the forefront of exposing discrimination in facial recognition and other AI technologies.
Her groundbreaking 2018 study uncovered racial and gender bias in major companies’ AI services, finding they struggled to accurately detect darker-skinned faces and women.
Her book applies an intersectional lens, showing how racism, sexism and other biases can overlap in AI systems and render groups like women of color especially vulnerable. “We cannot have racial justice without algorithmic justice,” said Dr. Buolamwini.
A Call to Prevent AI Harms
Dr. Buolamwini told ESSENCE that she wrote the book as “an invitation to anyone interested in the impact of AI on everyday people.”
The book encourages experts and regular citizens alike to join the fight against biased AI that can negatively impact access to opportunities. “AI should be for the people and by the people, not just the privileged few,” writes Dr. Buolamwini.
By highlighting real-world examples of algorithmic discrimination, “Unmasking AI” makes abstract dangers feel concrete and actionable. Dr. Buolamwini ultimately aims to prevent AI from causing more harm, especially to already marginalized groups.