After a shocking realization, Google went ahead and removed gender-based pronouns from its feature tab, which used artificial intelligence techniques to implement certain smart features in Gmail.
Recently, Gmail users started getting suggestions while drafting their emails due to an artificial intelligence based feature, which tries to guess what people want to write. The developers have gone a step ahead and restricted the feature to stop suggesting gendered pronouns.
For example, if someone emails that they wish to head out for drinking with someone, it might complete the sentence with “you” or “it”. As per the latest update, it will no longer finish the sentence with gendered pronouns like “him” or “her”.
This change immediately came into effect because the technique that was implemented in the system was not successful at predicting people’s gender properly. The method used was in turn found to be sexist in nature. This irked the users and they expressed their concern over it.
Paul Lambert, who is the current Gmail product manager said that a research scientist found the issue in January when he typed – “I am meeting an investor next week,” following which the Smart Compose came up with a follow-up question that read “Do you want to meet him?” and did not suggest “her”.
However, smartphone users have become used to autocorrect feature, which usually goofs up the messages they are about to send. But, Google did not wish to take any chance with the feature, which might hurt the sentiments of the users due to this.
Lambert made it clear to the community by stating “Not all ‘screw ups’ are equal” and gender is indeed a very big issue to get it wrong.
As per the latest reports, Lambert said that the Smart Compose team, which comprises of around 15 qualified engineers and designers, has been trying several techniques to make this feature bias-free, but none seemed to prove that useful. Hence, the team unanimously decided to implement: limit coverage as the latest feature. Hopefully, the users get used to the latest change and optimize their work around it.