Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images

An algorithmic recruiter meant to help Amazon find top talent was systematically biased against women, a Reuters investigation found.

Why it matters: This is a textbook example of algorithmic bias. By learning from and emulating human behavior, a machine ended up as prejudiced as the people it replaced.

The details: Amazon's experiment, which dates back to 2014, was trained on 10 years of job applications, most of which came from men, reports Reuters' Jeffrey Dastin.

  • The system concluded that men were better candidates for technical jobs.
  • In 2015, Amazon began to realize that the system was penalizing resumes that included the word "women’s" (as in a women’s sports team or all-women’s colleges).

The company intervened to remove the negative weights on these words, but couldn’t be certain that other, similar problems wouldn’t crop up.

  • Reuters reported that Amazon recruiters used its recommendations but didn’t rely on them entirely.
  • An Amazon spokesperson disputed this, saying, “This was never used by Amazon recruiters to evaluate candidates.”
  • The company dissolved the team in charge of the system early last year, in part because the system was not surfacing useful candidates.

What’s next: Many large companies — including Goldman Sachs and Hilton — already use AI in their recruiting process, and the list will only grow.

  • But companies are still hoping that properly trained AI can not only avoid algorithmic bias but also correct human recruiters’ prejudices.

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Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.

Obama: The rest of us have to live with the consequences of what Trump's done

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Campaigning for Joe Biden at a car rally in Miami on Saturday, Barack Obama railed against President Trump's response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying "the rest of us have to live with the consequences of what he's done."

Driving the news: With less than two weeks before the election, the Biden campaign is drawing on the former president's popularity with Democrats to drive turnout and motivate voters.

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