Amazon shelves AI recruiter after women overlooked

Remigio Civitarese
Октября 13, 2018

The trained AI was supposed to give candidates a star rating from one to five.

The tech giant Amazon shutdown an AI recruitment system that it developed when it couldn't stop the tool from discriminating against women.

"They literally wanted it to be an engine where I'm going to give you 100 resumes, it will spit out the top five, and we'll hire those", an unnamed Amazon employee told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the system taught itself that male candidates were preferable to women. More damningly, it began to downgrade graduates of all-women colleges, and penalize resumes containing the word "women's" - so membership of a college's Women's Software Development Society, for example, could actually hurt your chances of winning a software development job. But the computer program determined a good candidate by looking at resumes Amazon received over a decade - and, at least in engineering positions, majority came from men.

The computer model was trained by observing patterns in the CVs candidates had submitted to Amazon over a decade-long period - most of which came from men.

Gender bias was not the only problem, Reuters' sources said.

While Amazon recoded the software to make the AI neutral to these terms, it realised that this did not guarantee that the technology would find other methods of being discriminatory against women, the report said.

Amazon ultimately chose to scrap the team previous year because executives no longer had hope for the system, according to Reuters.

Amazon recruiters are believed to have used the system to look at the recommendations when hiring, but didn't rely on the rankings.

Some 55% of USA human resources managers said Artificial Intelligence, or AI, would be a regular part of their work within the next five years, according to a 2017 survey by talent software firm CareerBuilder.

The team, set up in Amazon's Edinburgh engineering hub, created 500 models concentrated on detailed job functions and locations.

As of 2017, 40 percent of Amazon's workforce was female - a higher portion than Facebook, Apple, Google, or Microsoft, per Reuters.

A large number - including Hilton and Goldman Sachs - are turning to machine learning options to automate their recruitment process, either in-house or through recruitment as a service solutions.

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