With International Women’s Day celebrating the achievements of women from all around the world and drawing attention to continued gender equality challenges, the issue of gender bias in Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as the modern-day battle around gender stereotypes. To raise awareness of gender bias in AI, MullenLowe MENA has announced a ground-breaking campaign, asking for support in helping fix AI gender bias.
In 2020, UNESCO published a report concluding that AI risks having a negative impact on women’s economic empowerment and labour market opportunities by leading to job automation (LINK). The UNESCO found that while AI poses significant threats to gender equality, it also has the potential of making positive changes in societies by challenging existing gender norms.
Over a period of time, MullenLowe MENA has been researching different AI tools to assess their gender representation. As part of this research, the agency asked the tools to create images of various professions, including mechanical engineers, F1 drivers, mathematicians, CEOs, boxers, football players and many more. However, the results consistently showed only male representation in these roles. This highlights the gender bias that exists in AI and the need for corrective measures.
To help tackle the gender bias issue in AI, MullenLowe MENA has used AI tools, like midjourney, DALL·E 2 and Stable Diffusion, to create an image bank of women representation across different roles, developed to be inclusive and embrace diversity. This new 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. This includes stock image banks, social media, and the public image database, which serve as references for AI to learn from and break the bias.
Speaking about the campaign, MullenLowe MENA’s CEO, Mounir Harfouche, said: “As a leader in the advertising industry, we recognize the important role that AI plays in shaping the world around us, but equally there is clearly significant bias within these systems, which perpetuates harmful stereotypes and limits opportunities for women. 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. We’re asking colleagues, partners, clients and the wider industry to join us in helping re-train AI to break the AI gender bias.”
Prerna Mehra, Head of Art & Creative Director at MullenLowe MENA added: “Empowering women across all industries and professions is not just a matter of breaking gender stereotypes, but also unleashing the power of diverse perspectives. 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. By making our images royalty and rights-free, we are not only encouraging their widespread use, but also 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.”
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. MullenLowe is asking the global marketing industry and general public to join them in helping make the change by using www.fixingthebais.com and their discord channel https://discord.gg/XggJFG33GP to share support and images generated by AI to fix AI.