Sorry for the click-bait title, but this week’s episode of ‘The Good Wife’ should be unmissable for anyone working in data science.
The Good Wife is a legal procedural drama. The show is on the pulse, it’s hard hitting and it asks tough questions. I particularly like its focus on the legal implications of new technology, from self driving cars to Bitcoin.
In ‘Discovery’ Series 7 Episode 9, the case revolves around a large technology client who is being sued for racial profiling. The client is ChumHum, a search engine which now dominates the web (sound familiar?) – this episode deals with augmentation of mapping data to show ‘sketchy’ neighbourhoods, but also touches on automated tagging of images.
In short, the question is ‘Can AI be racist?’
Sadly, the answer is yes. We all like to think of technology being clean and separate from these human concerns, however the problem with technology is humans. Whether it’s how the training data set is selected, or whether it reflects the biases of the people that use the product (like the unfortunate and entirely foreseeable outcome of Microsoft’s Twitter Bot this week).
The episode makes a very clear dig at the lack of diversity in technology and how it influences the products that are built and the knock-on consequences in the real world. It is easy to forget but so important for everyone in technology to keep in mind. This week’s episode of The Good Wife is a timely reminder.
In the UK The Good Wife is available on Channel 4 online.
Personally I think The Good Wife should be unmissable watching for everyone all the time, I love this TV show and I thoroughly recommend it. It has a very strong female cast, read 7 reasons you need Alicia Florrick in your life. Still need more to sway you? This article on Wired reflects on The Good Wife as the most tech-savvy show on TV.