2 Diversity, fairness, and equitability in AI
In this section, you will take a close look at some of the most important issues contributing to the impact of the use of AI technology within society, asking such questions as: How diverse is the field of AI? How fair is the use of AI technology? How equitable is the access to AI technology across society? While you may have heard of some of these issues already, the following information box provides some background.
(Note also that ‘AI’ in the title of this section refers to both the AI sector, as well as the use of AI, both of which we will explore in this section.)
Diversity and inclusion in society
A fundamental idea here is that societies should embrace and promote the differences in identities and backgrounds between people who live within them. Diversity recognises differences, with more diverse institutions being more representative of the rest of society, and are thus more likely to better integrate with society. Inclusion promotes such differences, and more diverse institutions are more inclusive.
Being treated fairly
Being treated fairly means being treated in a way that does not discriminate based on personal attributes, circumstances and the like.
Equitable treatment means having the same opportunity to reach a specific objective, given specific considerations; such considerations may involve minimal adjustments made in order to provide a more ‘equal’ playing field (e.g. adjusting for specific disabilities or disadvantages not under an individual’s control).
Let’s start with diversity in AI as a sector. The following activity highlights some of these concerns.