A black Brazilian congresswoman has accused Microsoft’s AI technology of racism after it created a cartoon image of her as a gun-toting gangster.
Renata Souza, 41, had asked the ChatGPT-driven AI on Microsoft’s Bing platform to show a Pixar-style image of her as a black woman in a favela, Brazil’s notoriously crime-ridden slums.
But she was furious when the image it created showed her carrying a pistol.
Souza, from Rio de Janeiro, said: “What leads this ‘artificial unintelligence’ to associate my body, my identity, with a weapon?”
Now the politician is demanding a meeting with Microsoft to hold it to task for its racism.
Souza said she asked the AI-driven image creator to generate an image of a black woman in a favela with afro hair and wearing African print clothes on 25th October.
She had expected it to show a strong, independent woman surrounded by the community she had risen up from.
Instead, it showed her as a cynical-looking gangster-style figure with a huge pistol in her right hand.
Souza said: “Can’t a black woman, born in the favela, be in a space that is free from violence?”
She added: “Algorithmic racism is there. This logic of criminalisation of black people, in these favelas and peripheral territories, is also in the algorithms.
“In a world forged by whiteness, which has dominance over technologies, the reproduction of the racist structure is taking place in all spaces and tools.
“The imagery of violence in favelas and the criminalisation of black bodies and territories is also present in technologies, which puts the safety of black people at risk. It is necessary to review these technologies and procedures.”
Microsoft would not comment on the racism allegations.
They would only tell local media: “We believe that creating trustworthy and inclusive AI technologies is a critical topic and something we take very seriously.”
The Ananova page is created by and dedicated to professional, independent freelance journalists. It is a place for us to showcase our work. When our news is sold to our media partners, we will include the link here.