Disability, Bias, and AI
AI systems are being rapidly integrated into core social domains, informing decisions about who gets resources and opportunity, and who doesn’t. These systems, often marketed as smarter, better, and more objective, have been shown repeatedly to produce biased and erroneous outputs. And while much AI bias research and reporting has focused on race and gender, there has been much less attention paid to AI bias and disability. On March 28, 2019, the AI Now Institute at NYU, the NYU Center for Disability Studies, and Microsoft convened disability scholars, AI developers, and computer science and human-computer interaction researchers to discuss the intersection of disability, bias, and AI, and to identify areas where more research and intervention are needed.
This report Disability, Bias, and AI captures and expands on some of the themes that emerged during discussion and debate. In particular, it identifies key questions that a focus on disability raises for the project of understanding the social implications of AI, and for ensuring that AI technologies don’t reproduce and extend histories of marginalization. It also examines what disability studies and activism can tell us about the risks and possibilities of AI, and how attention to disability complicates our current approach to “debiasing” AI.