Ethics in Natural Language Processing
Marty Oelschläger (PhD)
AI and machine learning have entered significantly into our day-to-day lives. For example, we use search queries and are startled or even angered if the algorithm did not understand what we were actually looking for. Just image what an effort it would be to process all those queries by human individuals. In case you can't imagine, CollegeHumor already prepared a vision of that: Fortunately, we taught machines --- at least to some degree --- to "understand" human language. This branch of machine learning is called natural language processing (NLP). We already gave an introduction , if you want to review the basics. However, since search engines, chat bots, and other NLP algorithms are not humans, we can employ them on large scale, i.e. on global scale. Since there are ubiquitous and used by very different people in various contexts, we want them to be objective and neutral (and not to be an annoyed and skeptical man as in the video above). But what if they are not the neutral number crunchers? What if they are subjective and even carry harmful stereotypes against specific groups?