when Microsoft sent back many journalists to replace them with AI at the end of May, it just made a mistake in choosing a photo that didn’t go unnoticed.
It’s hard to make any worse timing. While the #BlackLivesMatter movement is in full swing in the United States and around the world, Microsoft’s AI tasked with sorting, modifying and relaying information on the news portal MSN has just committed a severe blunder in an article. The AI took up an article in The Independent about the experience of Jade Thirlwall, a Métis singer from Little Mix, with racism during her schooling. Except that the tool developed by Microsoft chose to illustrate the information with an image of another Little Mix member (on the left in the photo below), Leigh-Anne Pinnock. The mistake did not fail to annoy Internet users, who violently lambasted the artificial intelligence of the firm of Redmond, after the tweet of the first concerned. Jade Thirlwall said on Instagram: “@MSN If you’re going to copy and paste articles from other media, maybe you should make sure you’re using an image of the right Metis person in the group. This thing happens to me and @leighannepinnock all the time, so much so that it has become a joke… It offends me that you can not differentiate the two women of color on four members of a group …GET BETTER! »
In addition to appearing in the midst of a global anti-racism movement, the error comes shortly after Microsoft’s much-criticized decision to fire about 50 journalists at the end of May. The latter, who were responsible for sorting, selecting and prioritizing information on the MSN portal, were thus replaced by the so-called AI “editor-in-chief”. Microsoft still keeps a small editorial team in place to write certain content. As a Microsoft spokesperson for the Guardian noted: “As soon as we became aware of this issue, we immediately took steps to resolve it and replaced the incorrect image.” This misadventure will have at least proved that artificial intelligence still has a long way to go to replace human work, whether in journalism or in other fields.