Congrats to the Washington Capitals (and all my D.C. colleagues) for capturing their first-ever Stanley Cup.
Rumman Chowdhury leads Accenture's responsible AI efforts. Photo: Frances Denny
With computer algorithms being called on to make more and bigger decisions, a growing field has emerged to help ensure the models are fair and free of bias. Among the latest efforts is a new "fairness tool" that consulting giant Accenture is detailing at an AI conference next week.
Accenture is far from alone in trying to develop tools to remove bias from AI.
"We believe that all creators of technology are responsible for creating the future that we want to live in. For us, that future is one that is bias-free.
Why it matters: AI is being used to make an increasing array of decisions from who gets parole to whether someone is offered a loan or job. But without rooting out bias in both training data and models, these algorithms risk simply codifying existing human misperceptions.
How it works: Accenture's tool looks at both the data used to train a model as well as the algorithm itself to see if there are any places where any particular group is being treated unfairly.
Origin story: Rumman Chowdhury, who leads responsible AI at Accenture Applied Intelligence, developed what became the fairness tool with the assistance of a study group of researchers at the Alan Turing Institute. The tool is being formally announced next week at CogX in London.
More people in the room: One of the benefits, Chowdhury said, is that you don't have to be an experienced coder to make use of the tool. That helps promote another important means of combating AI bias: making sure more people are part of the discussion.
"It’s a really good way to start incorporating different people into the AI development process, people who aren't necessarily data scientists," Chowdhury told Axios.
Yes, but: Chowdhury notes the fairness tool isn't a silver bullet. It works best on certain types of models, known as classification models, and needs fixed, rather than continuous, variables.
"I don't want people to think you can push a button and fix for fairness because you can’t," she said. "While this is one tool that certainly does help, it doesn’t solve for everything."
Also, correcting for bias can make an algorithm more fair, but sometimes at the expense of accuracy.
Go deeper: Another key component of ethical AI is transparency. Check out this article for more on the push to create AI that can show its work.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
As we wrote yesterday, it’s always complicated when it comes to tech and China.
That's especially true when trying to suss out the relationship between Chinese tech companies and the Chinese government. In a country with only one party, some ties are inevitable. That said, the Chinese government has a uniquely close relationship with its tech companies.
Erica Pandey has a close look at the biggest companies in China and the dynamics of interactions with the government.
The bottom line: The Chinese government gives its corporate champions nearly unfettered access to the country's 770 million internet users, but that comes with the fear that Chinese President Xi Jinping could make it disappear in an instant. And as China's tech companies get bigger and richer, the Communist Party gets more nervous.
Plus: ZTE is back! The U.S. government officially reached a deal with the Chinese telecom firm that will see it back in business, but only after replacing its board and management, paying a fortune in fines and agreeing to allow U.S. oversight. However a bipartisan group of senators is trying to undo the deal.
Uber wants to get into the scooter business in San Francisco and is submitting an application for the city's upcoming pilot program, the company confirmed to Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva on Thursday. Lyft also tells Axios that it's applied as well.
Why it matters: Electric scooter services are all the rage, and after acquiring bike-sharing startup Jump in April, Uber wants to deploy them as part of its plans to provide a variety of transportation options to customers. Lyft has also shown interest in going beyond cars.
Competition: San Francisco's transportation agency will dole out up to five permits to scooter companies, so Uber and Lyft will be vying with scooter startups like Bird, Lime, and Spin.
Hans Vestberg. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
The details: Vestberg will take over on August 1, succeeding Lowell McAdam, who has been in the role since August 1, 2011. McAdam will remain executive chairman until the end of the year and then become non-executive chairman.
Check out the world's highest post office (and, no, it's not in Amsterdam. They are below sea level.)