Sleepwalking is Dangerous

10 Oct 2019

Sleepwalking is Dangerous

There is a myriad of socio-political issues which affect every one of us in the Localization industry. From the rise of Isolationism all across the globe; to the threat of AI technologies being used to discriminate against minorities within populations; to the continued white-washing of sexual assault; we, in the Localization industry, are on the frontlines of all of these concerns.

In 2017 a group of students at Stanford in the US “borrowed” the profiles of users of a couple of dating apps. They fed the 35,000 photos into a machine. In their own words:

“We show that faces contain much more information about sexual orientation than can be perceived and interpreted by the human brain. We used deep neural networks to extract features from 35,326 facial images. These features were entered into a logistic regression aimed at classifying sexual orientation. Given a single facial image, a classifier could correctly distinguish between gay and heterosexual men in 81% of cases, and in 71% of cases for women. Human judges achieved much lower accuracy: 61% for men and 54% for women. The accuracy of the algorithm increased to 91% and 83%, respectively, given five facial images per person.”

In China, there is a plan to have a Social Credit System fully implemented and installed by 2020. This social credit system aims to rank every citizen. You can earn credits for behaving as a “good citizen” and lose credit if you are “bad”. If you are caught jaywalking, if you don’t pay a court bill, play your music too loud on the train — you could lose certain rights, such as booking a flight or train ticket.

What is stopping a government who would like to “monitor” a certain group within a population from actually combining these technologies?

I would like to present a brief round-up of the matters I have mentioned in this summary, and would like to generate a discussion with those present to find out where we stand in Central Europe with the rise of isolationist rhetoric (and governments), threats from AI (outside of translation industry), and issues of sexual intimidation.