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Amid reckoning on police racism, algorithm bias in focus

A wave of protests over law enforcement abuses has highlighted concerns over artificial intelligence programs like facial recognition which critics say may reinforce racial bias.

While the protests have focused on police misconduct, activists point out flaws that may lead to unfair applications of technologies for law enforcement, including facial recognition, predictive policing and “risk assessment” algorithms.

The issue came to the forefront recently with the wrongful arrest in Detroit of an African American man based on a flawed algorithm which identified him as a robbery suspect.

Critics of facial recognition use in law enforcement say the case underscores the pervasive impact of a flawed technology.

Mutale Nkonde, an AI researcher, said that even though the idea of bias and algorithms has been debated for years, the latest case and other incidents have driven home the message.

“What is different in this moment is we have explainability and people are

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