How 10 skin tones will reshape Google’s approach to AI

Over the years, technology Companies rely on a method called the Fitzpatrick scale to classify skin tones for their computer vision algorithms.Originally designed for dermatologists in the 1970s, the system contains only six skin tones, possibly The well-documented failure of artificial intelligence in identifying people of color. Now Google is starting to include 10 skin tone standards in its products, called monk skin tone (MST) scale, from Google Search Images to Google Photos and more. This development has the potential to reduce bias in the datasets used to train AI in everything from healthcare to content moderation.

Google first says it plans to go beyond the Fitzpatrick scale last year. Internally, the project dates back to the summer of 2020, when four black women at Google worked to make AI “work better for people of color,” according to . twitter thread From Xango Eyeé, the company’s AI product manager in Google I/O Conference, the company detailed the broad implications the new system could have on its many products. Google will also open source MST, which means it could replace Fitzpatrick as the industry standard for evaluating the fairness of camera and computer vision systems.

Eyeé said: “Think of any place where an image of a human face needs to be used, and we need to test the fairness of the algorithm.”

The Monk Skin Color Scale is named after Harvard sociologist Ellis Monk. decades Examines the impact of colorism on the lives of black Americans. Monk created the scale in 2019 and worked with Google engineers and researchers to incorporate it into the company’s product development.

“The reality is that life’s chances, opportunities, all of those things are closely related to your phenotypic makeup,” Munch said in prepared remarks in a video that aired at I/O. “We can remove these biases in our technology from a very early stage and make sure that the technology we have works equally well across all skin tones. I think that’s a huge step forward.”

A preliminary analysis last year by Monk and Google research scientists found that participants felt the MST was more representative of the participants than the Fitzpatrick a FAQ In a Wednesday release, Google said having more than 10 skin tones adds sophistication without added value, unlike industries such as cosmetics, where companies like Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty offer more than 40 shades. Google is continuing its efforts to verify monks’ skin color grades in places including Brazil, India, Mexico and Nigeria, according to people familiar with the matter. More details are expected in an academic research article shortly.

The company will now expand its use of MST. Google Images will offer an option to sort makeup-related search results by skin tone, and later this month Google Photos will introduce filters for people with more melanin. If Google adopted 10 skin tone scales across its product line, it could have implications for fairly evaluating algorithms used in Google search results, Pixel smartphones, YouTube classification algorithms, Waymo’s self-driving cars, and more.

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