According to a study, Artificial intelligence (AI) powered machines can show demonstrate prejudice by simply identifying, copying and learning behavior from one other.
Researchers from Cardiff University in the UK and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have identified that showing prejudice behavior doesn’t require a high level of cognitive ability and could easily be exhibited by machines.
“It is feasible that autonomous machines with the ability to identify with discrimination and copy others could in future be susceptible to prejudicial phenomena that we see in the human population,” said Roger Whitaker, professor, Cardiff University.
In many cases, some types of computer algorithms have already shown prejudiced behavior like racism and sexism based on some data generated by humans.
The findings are based on computer simulations of how similarly prejudiced individuals, or virtual agents, can form a group and interact with each other.
“By running these simulations thousands and thousands of times over, we begin to get an understanding of how prejudice evolves and the conditions that promote or impede it,” Whitaker added.
“Our simulations show that prejudice is a powerful force of nature and through evolution, it can easily become incentivised in virtual populations, to the detriment of wider connectivity with others,” he further added.
The findings involve individuals updating their prejudice levels by preferentially copying those that gain a higher short-term payoff, meaning that these decisions do not necessarily require advanced cognitive abilities, they said.