A standard candidate profile and resume usually offers a surface glance of each candidate. Depending on the number of candidates, there is usually a lot of information to surf through before selecting the right candidate, and companies like Amazon know this and have devised new means using Artificial Intelligence to sift through data. The problem however is, the AI is gender bias.
Initially, the artificial intelligence system was trained to collect data submitted by applicants over a 10-year period, but since much of the applications submitted were from men, the system effectively taught itself that male candidates were preferable, Reuters reported.
With this, the recruitment tool penalized female resumes. The word, ‘woman’ or ‘women’ mentioned in a resume led to automatic disqualification as Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence downgraded graduates of two all-women’s colleges in the United States of America.
After recognising the flaw, Amazon hoped to remedy its AI by editing the programs to make them gender neutral. Unfortunately, that was not a guarantee that the machines would select women or be less smart not to devise other ways of sorting male candidates.
When developed in 2014, Amazon’s Artificial Intelligence recruitment tool was aimed at reviewing job applications and giving candidates a score ranging from one to five stars, Reuters noted. According to an unnamed source interviewed by Reuters, “they literally wanted it to be an engine where I’m going to give you 100 resumes, it will spit out the top five, and we’ll hire those.” But in 2015, it was discovered that the system had deviated from its original purpose mainly because it was built on data accumulated from resumes submitted by men.
So far, data collated by the AI has helped in recruiters’ decision making and hiring but with the flaw noticed, there are reports that Amazon had scrapped the recruiting tool. According to The Verge, a source at Amazon said that the tool was only used in trials, and was never used independently or used for larger groups.
Amazon is an electronic commerce and cloud computing company with a 60 percent male global workforce. The company has about 580,000 staff. Currently, Amazon dominates the e-commerce industry and is taking on sectors like groceries and pharmaceuticals.