A recent study in robotics has drawn attention from news media such as The Washington Post and VICE. In this study, researchers programmed virtual robots with popular artificial intelligence algorithms. Then, these robots were asked to scan blocks containing pictures of people’s faces and make decisions to put some blocks into a virtual “box” according to an open-ended instruction. In the experiments, researchers quickly found out that these robots repeatedly picked women and people of color to be put in the “box” when they were asked to respond to words such as “criminal”, “homemaker”, and “janitor”. The behaviors of these robots showed that sexist and racist baises coded in AI algorithms have leaked into the field of robotics.
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