FaceApp Blames AI for Whitening up Black People

By Gary Cutlack on at

People who actually want to see their faces reflected in their phone screens have been having fun with FaceApp recently, with Facebook and Twitter currently overloaded with images of users sharing what they look like young, old and "hot" as adapted by the app's filters.

Which is all harmless, self-loving fun, but for the fact that the "hot" image is becoming something of a problem for the app's maker, as users with darker skin are finding out that all it really does is slim down their features and turn them white. Which is really quite awkward and is resulting in some top tier public relations disaster tweets like this:

It also deletes glasses as it thinks all glasses-wearers are losers. The app maker isn't taking responsibility for it either, and is instead blubbering about problems with machine learning and the neural network. He told the BBC that: "We are deeply sorry for this unquestionably serious issue. It is an unfortunate side-effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behaviour."

So they accidentally created a racist computer and you have to be angry with the computer, OK? And instead of fixing it, they've simply renamed the feature from "hot" to "spark." [BBC]

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