Monday, June 27, 2016

More on the Confused White Provincial Thinking of Microsoft Researcher Kate Crawford

As a follow up to my post, Is Artificial Intelligence Sexist and Racist? A White Guy Problem?, Paul Tenney adds:
Quick aside, but the term "asians" is something only used by Westerners. In Asia, there are Chinese, Malays, Japanese, Indonesians, etc. I have never heard one person in Asia refer to someone as "Asian" so just right there this woman is racist...if that is up for discussion.

A bit of truth though: AI is based on data, and the more data you have the more the algorithm will skew that direction. For instance I work in AI in Southeast Asia and my algorithm will - using the data we have now - predict results based on the local cultures and preferences at large more so than, say, "white" preferences (white is in quotes because "asians" don't call people white. There are Americans, Brits, French, etc.).

In other words, besides her racism against the various people living in Asia, her bias is fundamentally the national borders of the US. If you compile data globally, I can quite assure her it will skew female and non-white.


  1. While his point on AI being about the data is true, he's full of shit that Asians don't use the term "Asian" -- at least the ones who speak English (since I don't speak Mandarin, Japanese, or any Asian language). I'm married to a Taiwanese, and I hear her and her friends refer to Asians all the time. They also refer generically to "white people" as Europeans -- even if they're American.

  2. Is it racist to refer to 'Asians' as orientals? Or is that just my straight white male privileged patriarchal position getting the better of me?

  3. Yeah, let's call people racist when we don't even know what we are talking about. Paul Tenny says he has never heard Asians say "Asian", even in their own languages, which he presumably understands. Which languages would those be, then? Chinese, Japanese, and Korean have words for Asian that are used that I can verify myself from actually being able to read, write, and speak those languages and having lived in those countries.