Dubai agency launches open image bank to fix AI gender bias against women

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Dubai-based creative agency, MullenLowe MENA, has announced a new campaign aimed at fixing AI gender bias against women by using artificial intelligence to update the datasets used to train AI systems to create more gender-neutral images.

The agency has developed an image bank of women in different professions. The campaign's goal is to teach AI that women can be doctors, astronauts, and CEOs, just as much as men can be chefs, nurses, or teachers.

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The need for corrective measures stems from a consistent pattern of gender bias that exists in AI, as evidenced by MullenLowe MENA's research.

The agency asked different AI tools to create images of various professions, including mechanical engineers, F1 drivers, mathematicians, CEOs, boxers, football players and more, but the results consistently showed only male representation in these roles.

The image bank uses AI tools like midjourney, DALL·E 2 and Stable Diffusion. The database is hosted on a bespoke open website, www.fixingthebais.com, where the agency and anyone else around the world can update the datasets used to train AI systems.

By making the images royalty and rights-free, MullenLowe MENA is encouraging widespread use and contributing to the growth of AI.

The more people use these images in all industries and professions, the more opportunities there are for AI to learn and evolve, shaping the future of technology in a more equitable and inclusive way.

“Rather than just highlighting the issue, we wanted to do something about it by creating an image bank of women in different professions, we hope to address these issues head-on and create a more equitable world for all,” said Mounir Harfouche, CEO of MullenLowe MENA.

“We’re asking colleagues, partners, clients and the wider industry to join us in helping re-train AI to break the AI gender bias."

The agency is leading a call to action, asking the global marketing industry and the general public to join them in using the image bank and their discord channel to share support and images generated by AI to fix AI.

“Empowering women across all industries and professions is not just a matter of breaking gender stereotypes, but also unleashing the power of diverse perspectives,” said Prerna Mehra, Head of Art and Creative Director at MullenLowe MENA.

“As a team of all female creatives working on this campaign, we have brought unique insights and experiences to the table, leading to innovative and meaningful work.”

The issue of gender bias in AI has emerged as a modern-day battle around gender stereotypes, with several studies concluding that AI risks having a negative impact on women’s economic empowerment and labor market opportunities. Some reports have also suggested that AI poses significant threats to gender equality.

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