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On Inclusion and Diversity

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Recently i watched a documentary named Coded bias, it investigates the bias in algorithms after M.I.T media lab researcher Joy Buolamwini uncovered flaws in facial recognition technologies. It was found out the algo’s were biased against People of colour and Women. What i understood from the documentary was the tech industry is dominated by similar looking people (for example 83% of Google tech employees were men, with 60% of the entire tech workforce being white), they could have unconsciously encoded or propagated biases. The lack of diversity leads to biases in software which are used by almost everyone.

After watching the documentary i started educating myself about diversity and inclusion in free and opensource movements there people has freedom to contribute and improve the peace of code It allowed a diverse group of people irrespective of their location or religion to contribute which made the whole ecosystem diverse and inclusive.

Let’s say there is a ML project in open source for face detection. And it is trained only on faces of fair skinned people. Then it might not be able to detect dark skinned people’s faces. Hence diversity is important. Inclusion of different subsections of the society might not directly lead to any special advantage for every project/ community, but on a case basis, it can. But it will never lead to any disadvantage.

So we can say that Inclusion and diversity ensures everyone’s voice is heard and it leads to a stronger ecosystem in which everyone feels welcome and respected.