News  |    |  May 27, 2019

Human Experience and Gender Biased Design in Technology

News article by Rhian Farnworth.
Published in Medium.


The use of technology is at an all-time high, with humans relying on and using digital systems daily. Dutch Philosopher of Technology, Peter-Paul Verbeek, notes technological and digital artefacts mediate and sculpt our perceived reality, affecting and forming the daily, lived-experience of all. With the rapid development of new technologies and systems; government, private and public sectors are, through technology, are changing how society conducts and experiences day-to-day actuality. From life-changing decisions like loan or mortgage approvals, Police and FBI systems using image recognition programs to determine the likeliness to commit crimes, Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered recruitment systems automatically dis/approving applicants, to user experiences delivered through smartphone interfaces or digital in-car systems; our modern human condition is built upon database learning and algorithmic decisions, Machine Learning (ML) logic models, and AI-driven interfaces.

Yet, who creates and designs such systems? Who possesses the knowledge to decide the type of information fed into them, and who decides which data points are important or hold value, and to whom? Are the engineers making such decisions ethical and neutral? Is anyone concerned by the affect this has on the very real outcomes for everyday people, and is anyone ensuring ethical and gender neutrality standards are in place during the creation phase? [ . . . ]